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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Dallas Turner

Minutes after a devastating loss in the Rose Bowl against Michigan, Alabama Edge Rusher Dallas Turner made his future intentions known almost immediately got in front of a microphone; he'd be taking his talents to the National Football League come April. The newly anointed SEC Defensive Player of the Year is right in the mix to be the first pass rusher off the board come draft day, and he brings a ton to the table regarding production and physical traits. Most notably, Turner's 22.5 sacks rank sixth most (tied) in program history for the Tide, and picked up his first, and subsequently only, Consensus First-Team All-American honors.

At 6'4 and listed at over 250 lbs by Alabama (242 by most other sources), Turner is a legit physical specimen, who combines a ton of speed with a massive frame, and a 40 time estimated in the 4.5-4.9 range. Additionally, the best season of his career was the only season he didn't play opposite Will Anderson, arguably the single-best player in the 2023 draft class. Going up against guys like Jared Verse and Laiatu Latu for the right to be the first edge rusher on the board, does Turner have enough out there to put himself at the front of the line?

Player Bio

Name: Dallas Turner

Jersey: No. 15

Position: EDGE

School: Alabama

Class: Junior

Height: 6'4"

Weight: 242 lbs

Games Watched: vs. Tennessee and Texas (2022), vs. Ole Miss, Texas A&M, LSU and Georgia (2023)

Player Breakdown

Pass Rush Ability (14/15)

While this crop of games didn't show Turner at the peak of his abilities, I didn't entirely view that as a bad thing. His production speaks for itself, plus this allowed me to hone in on the areas where he needed to, and in some cases, showed improvement from '22 to '23. In the two 2022 outings, my concern was that Turner would be someone who exclusively tried to win around the outside. While the ability to win working inside was limited due to his lack of bulk, you saw him get better in that regard the following year, in addition to the converting speed-to-power department. As far as his lack of natural strength at the line, we'll touch on that later, but Turner's ability to leverage inside and win showed up more in 2023.

The Ghost Rush is a go-to move, but another move in Turner's bag that I think has the potential to get him a ton of money at the next level would be his spin move. It's not all the way there yet, but it showed well enough that if he can use it better consistently, you'd be asking a lot out of linemen to try and stop him with the speed and burst he has as well. It doesn't result in a sack (but does draw a hold), but watch how Turner spins back outside here against LSU, nearly resulting in taking down Jayden Daniels (REALLY FAST, by the way), but he does get a holding call.

Explosiveness (9.5/10)

Turner's raw athleticism makes him as explosive as any defender in this draft. The combination of speed, closing ability, bend, etc, makes him a threat to be an impact pass rusher on any snap, and this was the case in big spots as well, which is a nice plus. You'll see a glimpse of this in a few moments, but a lot of Turner's best snaps came on money downs. Here's a fun example for now though.

First Step (9.75/10)

Turner's ability to close any amount of ground on a lineman almost immediately is absurd. Guys at 6'4 and about 245 should not be able to accelerate and close distance as quickly as he does. This allowed him to frequently catch tackles on the back foot, instantly making up for any power gap. Any coach would kill for this kind of burst off the line.

Bend (9.5/10)

Given that he fits the speed rusher profile, it should come as no surprise that Turner can shorten up his path to a QB as good as anyone in this class. Explains why the ghost rush is such a key part of his repertoire as well. His flexibility is going to serve him very well as an NFL player.

Hand Usage (7.75/10)

After watching these six games, one of my biggest concerns with Turner is that he lacks violence in his hands when it directly comes to rushing the passer. He's good at swiping and less so clubbing on occasion, but it wasn't consistent or violent enough for my liking. Where Turner showed improvement in 2023 however, is the ability to win with leverage more frequently, which is at least one positive.

Motor (9.75/10)

I can give you a few sentences and talk about the effort Turner gives on just about every down, or I could just show you this shoestring sack he made against Ole Miss, or this tip at the line leading to a backbreaking interception against LSU this season, which drives the point home even better. Have to imagine there are scouts across the league who look at this and are/we're salivating (both of these plays were in the fourth quarter by the way).

Tackling (8/10)

While Turner is a punishing tackler, he can be just inconsistent enough with technique in spots. Occasionally, some ball carriers would slip out of his grasp and go to the ground, which at the next level could provide disastrous results. Not a huge worry, but certainly something that he should be working on before April.

Strength at the LOS (7/10)

Much of this score ultimately comes down to the fact that Turner is a bit undersized as far as edge rushers go, and it shows up on tape. Due to his size, Turner could get swallowed up and erased on double team blocks with regularity, and only on a few occasions could he find a way by. Two things I will note though, is that he was better at leveraging power, and on the whole, Turner did look better in the play strength department in the 2023 slate. Assuming he can get himself into the 255-260 lb range by August, I'd feel much better going into the 2024 season, but I don't think he can stick in the 240 lb range at the next level like Will Anderson is right now.

Run Defense (8.5/10)

Turner processes the run game very well in front of him and frequently does a great job of not allowing guys to hit the outside on him. But on top of not being an overpowering force as a run defender, an area that I'd like to see Turner get a bit better with is taking better angles. A common critique I saw before this was he takes some acute angles, and that's an accurate assessment for the most part.

Versatility (5/5)

While I was expecting Turner to have some looks in coverage here and there, I never anticipated that A) it would be to the level it was. Or B) Turner would look as good as he did. This isn't a case of an edge rusher going out in the flat and doing some zone coverage looks either. Turner was practically a true off-ball coverage linebacker in spots. Getting into passing lanes, nearly causing interceptions in spots, the whole nine. Against Texas, he was responsible for likely top-100 pick Ja'Tavion Sanders and Bijan Robinson, the latter of whom he had at least one man coverage snap against. Granted, he got caught peeking in the backfield and let up a long gain, but this was the only negative coverage play I can recall.

Not as frequently on tape, but there were a few snaps where they brought him as a blitzer from the middle linebacker spot as well. The one thing I will say is that he may be limited to odd front defenses at the next level at his current size, but he also has a ton of reps in four-man fronts, for what it's worth. But especially for a speed rusher, to have that level of versatility can only help his draft stock.

Player Summary

As far as your typical speed rusher goes, there's enough to like about Turner to feel confident that he'll hear his name called inside the opening 20 picks of this year's draft. You can't teach Turner's raw athleticism and burst, nor can you teach his ability to come up in big spots. Even with that said, there are enough question marks or concerns where I don't think he's the first edge rusher to get his name called in Detroit. There's some refinement in his technique that I'd like to see improved, and I simply don't think he can stick in his current weight class as an NFL player. Guys like Micah Parsons and Will Anderson, who are on the thinner end of things, are the exception and not the norm.

A guy like Josh Sweat might be a good barometer for Turner since the two share a similar physical profile, and the Eagles second leading sack-getter can also fly off the line. Not saying he has to get to 265, but Turner could easily do what makes him great in the 250 lb range, especially if that can still allow him to work off the ball. Either way, his raw athleticism and upside should have plenty of teams excited, and under a month away from turning 21, the Bama product's best days are likely yet to come.

Rookie Projections: Defensive Rookie of the Year Contender

Third-Year Projections: Double-Digit Sack Producer

Final Grade (88.75/100): Mid-1st Round Talent

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