Dolphins Camp: How in the World Did Turner Last Until the Third Round?

john renshawContributor IJuly 24, 2009

PASADENA, CA - DECEMBER 6:  Patrick Turner #1 of the USC Trojans is unable to catch the ball against Michael Norris #22 of the UCLA Bruins on December 6, 2008 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  USC won 28-7.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)

Many NFL draft experts think the Dolphins reached for wide receiver Patrick Turner with the 87th overall pick in the third round.  If the offseason is any indication, it could be Turner’s reach that turns the pick into a steal.

An unofficial straw poll of many Dolphin players and coaches asked the question, who has been the most impressive newcomer on the team?  Turner, the tall drink of water from USC, won in a landslide.

The knock on Turner was that he was not explosive enough, too inconsistent, couldn’t make people miss, and was not strong enough to battle physical defensive backs at the line of scrimmage.

If Turner plays in pads as well as he did in the Dolphins offseason quarterback schools, those scouts who doubted him will know him as a head turner and not a head scratcher.

He dominated in the red zone and on third down plays for Miami in the spring.  At 6'5", 220 pounds, he was a matchup nightmare.  He showed incredible body control, an out-of-this-world reach, and the ability to adjust to almost any type of pass in midair.

He also brought a blue-collar lunch pail to work every day filled with intelligence, versatility, and great hands.

It is difficult to remember when the Dolphins last had a chain-moving, red zone receiver with Turner's height, strength, and reach.  The fade pattern to the corner of the end zone with Oronde Gadsen is the only guy that comes to mind.  Yatill Green was drafted to be that type of player, but devastating injuries never allowed him to prove it.

The Dolphins were not a great red zone team last year, and they still need to decide what type of offensive team they are going to be this year.  But Turner has flashed the kinds of abilities that might get the Fins in the red and end zones a lot this year.

He is a polished route runner for his size, always has a positive attitude, and will not hesitate to sacrifice his body in order to jump over defenders.  He also lines up in the slot at times and will go over the middle and make tough catch.

His offseason success was completed against a young and re-tooled secondary, in shorts with no hitting.  But as training camp approaches, Patrick Turner will have many eyes on and many balls thrown his way.