Prospect: Billy Turner, OT, North Dakota State
Grade: 7.1 (Grading Scale)
Measurements taken from the NFL Scouting Combine
Strengths: Fluid body type with light feet, can move like a tight end…Great bulk in both upper and lower body…More than adequate length for the tackle position with 34” arms…Tremendous upper body strength shown when he gets hands on defenders…Consistently delivers a heavy punch to jolt opponents and gain the upper hand…Can punch without rocking back or lunging forward into contact, stays balanced and delivers it quickly…Precise in his hand placement and extends to keep rushers off his body very well…Terrific anchor ability against the power rush, resets his feet quickly and locks out…Plays with his eyes up and sees the moving parts of a defense very well…Skilled combo blocker in a timing, balance, and angles sense…Has adequate lateral quickness to move down the line off the snap and cut off defenders from the back side or scoop defenders…Shortens strides at the second level and squares up linebackers to maximize contact and wall them off…Drives through defenders by bringing hips through contact and keeping feet underneath him…Overwhelming physical talent as a run blocker and sustains blocks very well…Has some nastiness and a finisher’s mentality as a run blocker…Plays with a bully’s mentality.
Weaknesses: His game is still inconsistent, especially in terms of technique…Doesn’t bend at the knees as much as possible, will bend at the waist a bit…Still raw in terms of technique and footwork on the edge…Able to get by on physical talent against lesser competition, has slowed development of technique…Gets himself into trouble by being too aggressive pass protection…Doesn’t snap his hips to get immediate depth off the line of scrimmage, will have issues with speed rushes early on…Has trouble mirroring back to his inside gap after rushers press the edge first…Overly reliant on the work of his hands…Doesn’t always have his feet and his hands synced up…Isn’t pro-ready as a tackle, may need to play guard if he sees the field right away.
After a tremendous performance in North Dakota State’s big victory over Kansas State in the first week of the season, Billy Turner turned in a dominant senior season that has put him in the spotlight. Those down on Jimmy Garoppolo can make a strong case the Turner is the best FCS prospect on the board.
The dominance of Turner against inferior competition and the ability to raise his play against a team like Kansas State checks boxes when it comes to an FCS prospect. He was physically and athletically overwhelming. Few rushers ever got him off his balance point, much rather get around him. Run defenders ended up on the ground more often than they were able to shed his blocks quickly.
Turner’s fortunes weren’t as good during Senior Bowl week. Speed rushers like Dee Ford gave him big issues, highlighting his technical issues as a pass blocker. That’s what it is all about for Billy Turner going forward. He has the feet, natural balance, and power to be a starting offensive tackle in this league. The footwork and coordination with his hands just isn’t there yet.
An NFL team who needs an immediate impact could slide him into a guard position and get solid returns, but Turner’s upside could be maximized by being given a year behind an aging left tackle to develop technically before being slotted into a lineup in 2015. The situation is more important than where exactly he’s drafted, but a second round investment makes sense.—Darren Page
North Dakota State vs. Kansas State
• Very light feet to reset on contact in early pass sets, quick feet
• Drops his pads well at the point of attack as a run blocker and fires hands well
• Maintains balance point well in his kickslide, comfortable sliding to get depth
• Buries a defensive end on a down block, shows nastiness to finish run blocks
• Stays under control and puts a heavy block on an ILB, doesn’t stop his feet on contact either
• May be over-reliant on his punch, doesn’t land it on a force LB and can’t sustain the block
• Does a fine job placing hands and using length to extend and keep rushers from his frame
• Could stand to be more patient in pass set, let the rusher come to him and then fire hands, can lunge at times
• Pulls to his right and leads up the interior on a few plays, pads are a bit high pulling down the line
• Fluid body type, very nimble in his movements, bends at the knees and not the waist
• Dumps a DT on a combo down, can really deliver a heavy blow as a run blocker
North Dakota State vs. Towson
• Slides up to the second level with perfect timing to wall off the ILB and spring a long run
• Does a great job bringing hips through to drive as a run blocker, stays on balance point and can sustain
• Extends and places hands very well in early pass sets, keeps rushers off his frame and doesn’t give ground
• Doesn’t land with his hands, takes a punch to his inside shoulder and gets knocked off balance, loses his inside gap and gives up a QB hurry
• Staying balanced in his kickslide, fine footwork to not over extend and lose his base
• Shows some tendency to bend at the waist and not the knees, maintains balance as a blocker despite
• Wedges open big holes as a kickout blocker on the edge, drops pads, drives through with his hips, and finishes with some nastiness after creating movement
• Continuously shows a heavy punch that knocks rushers off their arc, + upper body strength
• Skilled combo blocker, keeps pads down and knees bent moving up to the 2nd level and squaring up LB’s
North Dakota State vs. Delaware State
• Urgent to the second level without hurrying, stays balanced, and delivers the blow with his hands to control an ILB
• Consistently dominant with his hands after jolting defenders and getting them off balance
• Keeps eyes up and slides off to the outside to pick up a blitzing linebacker
• Doesn’t bring his feet up underneath him to drive into contact as a blocker at times and gets slid off of
• Anchors a power rush with ease, absorbs with his hands and then extends to stand up the rusher
• Doesn’t show overly light feet to slide in pass protection and mirror, more reliant on his skilled hands
• Well-measured moving up the field on a screen pass and squares up an ILB to spring a TD
Other games reviewed: Coastal Carolina, Northern Iowa.