The NFL is and more than likely will remain a passing league for the rest of its existence. The amount of wide receivers entering the league has not slowed down. In fact, it has picked up and teams are capable of finding quality pass-catchers in the mid-to-late rounds of the NFL draft with regularity. The status of guys tasked with covering them is a slightly different story.
Cornerbacks do not offer the same talent pool or depth, but the 2022 class shows the potential to be equipped with both. There are a number of talented cornerbacks in this 2022 draft class: Keele Ringo, Kyu Blu Kelly, Cam Smith, Eli Ricks, and Christian Gonzalez, to name a few. One name that is not spoken of enough is Michigan’s DJ Turner.
Turner made an appearance at No. 31 on Bruce Feldman’s Freaklist. This is well deserved due to his tremendous athleticism and traits. Turner posted a 4.28 40-yard dash while topping 23 mph on the GPS. His 3-cone was elite also, nailing a 6.29–the NFL Scouting Combine record is 6.28. As you can see, athleticism is what scouts will come and watch Turner for, but they will stay because of his game.
Turner’s 2021 campaign got off to a slow start. His snap count never eclipsed 30 per game over the first six weeks to open the season. But from Week 8 through the rest of the season, his snaps never dipped below 40 and continued to rise. This showed a level of trust from the coaching staff in Turner’s ability to make plays in the secondary.
He is a sticky cover corner that can run with nearly every receiver he lines up against. He understands leveraging and uses the sideline as an extra defender. I love his competitiveness at the catch point to play through as seen on this interception versus Northwestern.
Michigan’s D.J. Turner does an outstanding job in coverage to secure the pick.
He remained square until the receiver released. He reads the WR & stays on the upfield shoulder. Lastly, he plays through the WRs hands w/ violence.
He’s a toolsy CB!pic.twitter.com/FxhuTZ1hS8
— Full-Time Dame 💰 (@DP_NFL) August 18, 2022
Turner was not an easy defender to complete passes against. He allowed 26 receptions on 59 targets for 267 yards, two touchdowns, and had two interceptions. A cornerback with his coverage skills and athleticism will catch the attention of CB-needy teams.
Listed as one of the starting outside corners for Michigan, DJ Turner has a chance to put his name in the national spotlight this season. He will earn the respect that he is due!
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