At the 67th overall pick, the Dolphins addressed the offensive line once again, this time shoring up the troublesome guard position.
North Dakota State’s Billy Turner will immediately step in as a threat to take the starting job from 2013 third-rounder Dallas Thomas.
Standing almost 6’5”, with an arm length of 34”, Turner has a fantastic frame for an offensive lineman. He meets the baseline requirements for offensive tackles that the legend Bill Walsh set. This provides the Dolphins with great versatility for Turner’s future and immediate impact.
Turner has the aggressiveness to his game that all coaches love to see, as he plays to the echo of the whistle on every snap. For a guard, the trait of nastiness has always been highly regarded, because a guard must be willing to pancake fellow 300-pound defensive tackles to the ground, and that takes tremendous effort.
Billy Turner speaking to The Finsiders "I love the game of football...I play offensive line because I love to hit people." #FinsUp— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) May 10, 2014
He is light on his feet, able to pass protect with great nimbleness and balance. As he adds to his technique, his strength shouldn’t be an issue.
Dane Brugler of CBSSports said this of Turner:
Turner was a two-star recruit out of high school and didn't receive any FBS scholarship offers, enrolling at North Dakota State where he quickly took over the starting right tackle job.
He moved to left tackle as a sophomore in 2011 where he started 44 straight contests for back-to-back-to-back FCS National Title teams - two-time First-team All-MVC and FCS All-American honors (2012-13).
Turner looks the part with NFL size, length and athleticism, staying light on his feet with natural body control. He needs to learn to consistently sink his hips and not bend so much at the waist, but he has the on-field demeanor and mean attitude to do damage in the NFL.
Turner can play tackle if needed, but is best suited inside and with technique development, he has Pro Bowl potential down the road.
With the Dolphins' current group of offensive guards, expect Turner to be afforded that time for development if he needs it. But I believe he is going to be able to beat out Dallas Thomas in the preseason because of his tremendous fit in the offensive scheme.
As Brugler noted, Turner is still raw in his technique. By moving inside to guard, he won’t have to learn as much technique as he would as a tackle because of the way the zone-blocking scheme emphasizes teamwork as an offensive line.
Nolan Nawrocki of NFL.com said this of Turner:
Big-framed, raw, aggressive FCS standout who flashes a nice combination of foot quickness, punch strength and nastiness to warrant consideration as a project. Has a bit of a bull-in-a-china-shop element at this stage of his career, but has moldable tools and could easily develop into at least a swing backup and potentially more.
I believe Nawrocki is a little too low on Turner, as he played very well as a guard at the Senior Bowl against very good competition.
The biggest concern I have for Turner is how quickly he will adjust to the NFL speed and power. As the worst scenario, it may take him time to develop the technique to have consistent leverage and functional strength, but having an able backup on the offensive line is something the Dolphins didn’t have and desperately needed in 2013.
Even as Turner gets acclimated to the NFL, he should become the starting right guard, beating out Dallas Thomas, as he has the potential to be a perfect run-blocking mauler in this system. Miami did well to move back up for Turner, as a run on interior linemen occurred shortly after this pick.
Quickly, the offensive line is now an actual strength for the Dolphins, having much more talent than they entered the NFL draft with. Now, they just need to develop the talented Turner.
Note: All combine results courtesy of NFL.com's results tracker.
Ian Wharton covers the NFL draft for Bleacher Report, specifically focusing on defensive backs. He also covers the Miami Dolphins for DraftMecca.com and FinDepth.com. You can follow and interact with Ian on Twitter @NFLFilmStudy.
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