NFL Draft Profile – Payton Turner

Folks, we’re almost there.

The big weekend is less than two weeks away now. The NFL Draft, where every team’s record is 0-0 and a weekend where, if your team looks to have got it right, hopes and expectations become dreams.

Here at The Full 10 Yards you will have seen us and heard us, all across the internet and the airwaves, advertising our NFL Draft Scouting Reports (available here if you haven’t got your copy yet).

We’ve been working awfully hard as a group to give you our reports, takes and grades on hundreds of players over the past few months and compile them into one guide…

However, as is the case with every draft cycle, we missed a few late risers.

To compensate this, I am going to bring you some last minute scouting reports on a few defensive prospects who slipped through our net the first time around…

Today we start with Houston Edge, Payton Turner.

Games Watched: UCF 2020, Tulane 2020, BYU 2020

First Step Explosion

Turner’s first step is hit and miss if I’m being completely honest. Some of this comes from Turner’s pre-snap activity and because of his stance – Turner lines up in a two, three and four point stance at times, which I feel has led to some inconsistencies in his get off. The other aspect of Turner’s pre-snap movements that causes problems is that he has a tendency to rock back and forth on his stance, which leads him to mistime the snap and therefore get off the ball a split second late.

From an athletic standpoint, Turner does possess a quick first step and can reduce the distance between him and the offensive linemen in a short space of time. Turner then attacks the offensive linemen and uses his physical tools to get to the quarterback.

Hand Usage

I like Turner’s hand usage on the whole. I think he has a decent array of moves at his disposal, I think he uses good hand placement and hand fighting techniques with his power. Turner’s push-pull move is really dangerous and is probably his best pass rush move, but he also flashes with other moves such as his inside swim or club-rip, so I do feel like the ceiling is there and Turner could easily be coached up to learn a wider variety of moves and really become a diverse pass rusher.

Here is a nice move that Turner used on BYU’s Brady Christiansen to get a sack on Zach Wilson when they faced off this past season. I liked this clip not only because of the nice inside move, but also because he wasn’t juked out by Wilson in a short area and got the sack.

Turner aligns wide on the left side of the screen/right side of the defensive formation (#98)

Payton Turner Sack Vs. BYU

As mentioned above, this increased proficiency in his hand usage is only going to amplify his power as a rusher, which is really scary!

Bend

This is an area where Turner doesn’t excel if I’m going to be completely honest, his score for bend was actually where he scored lowest on my scale across his profile.

I don’t see a great deal of evidence of Turner trying to take a tackle on around the outside or turning the corner quickly and shortening the arc to the quarterback.

Turner is a taller edge defender and it feels like he’s built to be more of a linear player who is best served to attack half-man and go through his opponent, rather than around or underneath him, as someone like Azeez Ojulari may do.

Turner doesn’t have the hip or ankle flexibility to do this sort of thing, I just don’t think he’s this sort of athlete or body type, so I doubt whether the ceiling is there to improve in this manner too.

However, as mentioned above, he does have a nice inside move and he can set up tackles to bait them by rushing outside and then hitting them with the inside counter later in the game.

Run Defense

In my notes, I have Turner down as a “decent run defender”.

Turner got moved around a lot on the Houston defensive line (which I will get to later on in the article), which has meant that he has a good amount of snaps in the middle of the line where he’s faced off against bigger guards.

Turner has good length and the workrate to defend the run effectively, however I did note that backside pursuit is pretty hit and miss. Turner doesn’t always show a great deal of interest if the play is over the other side of the field, although at times, he does get involved in this side of the game, so maybe it’s just a case of harnessing his enthusiasm in this regard?

Athletic Profile

I think the RAS tool by @mathbomb is a fantastic tool – Turner scores really high when it comes to his overall athletic profile.

Size is good – I really think that Turner is a few extra pounds of muscle from having a prototypical NFL body at the position for a versatile defensive lineman.

His vertical jump shows and matches the explosion there is there for all to see on the film and the agility drills are absolutely elite! Turner checks all the boxes if your team has some testing thresholds that they need their drafted players to meet.

Scheme Fit/Versatility

In terms of versatility, Turner has shown a lot, as mentioned previously. He has lined up on the side as a 3-tech, and all the way out to a wide-9. Houston used him as an outside linebacker in the main, with this main role to hunt the opposing QB.

Turner also uses a variety of stances, although I do think he would be best served to use a couple of stances and really refine those, instead of using such diversity in his starting position.

Because of this, Turner would fit in as a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end, or as a stand-up outside linebacker in a defense with an odd front. I think the important thing is to train Turner up in one role rather than ask him to do everything.

Grade: Early-Mid 3rd Round

Payton Turner went straight in at EDGE6 in my rankings with an early-mid 3rd round grade, which is a really high new entry for a player who I’ve only just latched on to late in the process.

I feel like Turner has a sky-high ceiling as a prospect because of some of the traits that I’ve described. I feel like there’s a lot of room to grow and he flashes an awful lot – The highs are really high but conversely there are some holes in his game that are teachable and coachable at the next level.

Turner’s body type and high ceiling should make him valuable because he’s a diamond waiting to be polished and also because this class of edge defenders is… well, not great.

I think Turner will have his name called in the first 50 picks on draft weekend, book it in and keep an eye on this guy over the next couple of years.

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