Trai Turner NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report for Carolina Panthers RG

Alex Dunlap@AlexDunlapNFLContributor IMarch 18, 2014

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 23:  Quarterback Zach Mettenberger #8 of the LSU Tigers celebrates with offensive guard Trai Turner #56 after passing for a  touchdown against the Texas A&M Aggies at Tiger Stadium on November 23, 2013 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Trai Turner, RG, LSU, (HT: 6'2⅝"; WT: 310 lbs)

Carolina Panthers

Third Round: 92nd Pick

Combine Weigh In
602531034"9 1/2"
Combine Workout
40-yard dash10-yd splitBenchVertBroad3-coneShuttle


  • Sturdy, low-centered prospect with a condensed base and long arms.
  • Appears much larger than his 310-pound listed weight and appears substantial throughout his entire body.
  • Sits into his drop steps in pass protection with good balance and punches out nicely. 
  • Above-average agility.
  • Strong hands; extremely hard player for defenders to disengage from once he gets his hands on them. 
  • Can appear absolutely dominant as an downfield mauler for extended periods through games.
  • Nasty, tough player who seems to take pride in operating with a mean spirit. 
  • Ran the third-fastest 40-yard dash among offensive linemen at the NFL combine and clearly has elite straight-line speed for a 310-pound athlete. 
  • Fires out of his stance with a sense of purpose and a great burst. 
  • Sticks on blocks through run plays and keeps his feet pumping. 
  • Has put on tape 20 games starting against SEC-caliber (often future NFL-level) athletes.
  • Through evaluation, always appears very efficient in executing and finishing assignments. 
  • Recorded an astounding 10 knockdowns in his final college game at the Outback Bowl versus Iowa according to the LSU Athletic Department.
  • Excellent motor that does not wane through games or during prolonged drives. 
  • Possesses the athleticism to play in either a zone-blocking or a man-power scheme at the NFL level. 
  • Generally takes good angles, and displays superb use of leverage and positioning to win tough battles.


  • While it's not necessarily a common occurrence, he can be overpowered in the run game.
  • Is shorter than evaluators would like and clearly lacks ideal size.
  • Has relatively small hands for how strong they appear and needs to work on his placement. 
  • Looks fat and flabby through the midsection. 
  • Did not participate in on-field drills and tests at the NFL combine such as the short shuttle, the three-cone drill or the broad jump. 
  • Wins with motor and toughness as opposed to power. 
  • Can get bowed up and reeling when faced with an anchoring, head-up defender without the help of combo blocks. 
  • Functional strength of leg drive is below average.
  • Tends to be better at getting defenders moving the way he wants them instead of overpowering them and imposing his will. 
  • Is not as far along as other prospects developmentally, having declared for the NFL draft with not one, but two seasons of NCAA eligibility remaining.
  • Logged only 20 career starts at LSU. 
  • Has issues dealing with opposing pass rushers in close spaces. 
  • Better with his first step than with his follow-up steps and can tend to lean on opposing pass rushers. 
  • Lacks bend for a player with such noticeable agility and can, at times, appear stiff. 
  • Doesn't have the best awareness post-snap and can often operate recklessly like a bull in a china shop. 

Personal Notes (via LSU Athletic Department)

  • Full name is Trai Denzell Turner.
  • Parents are Barry and Capacine Turner. 
  • Born June 14, 1993, in New Orleans.
  • Majoring sports administration.

Ratings Chart

Grades by Alex Dunlap


Turner may lack the fanfare he deserves due to the fact that NFL evaluators generally wait until the deadline for juniors to declare in January before starting to do their scouting work on them. Getting into this process prior to the early-declare date can result in wasted time working on prospects who end up returning for their senior seasons.

With a full two years left of eligibility remaining, Turner was, correspondingly, far off the radar of most in the scouting world coming into the 2014 process.  His declaration came as a surprise. His terrific combine was enough to make evaluators go back to take a second look at his tape, though, and what can be seen through 2013 is that Turner looked at numerous times like an NFL-ready, plug-and-play right guard. He plays with balance, motor, violent hands and a mean, tough spirit. His feet are not fantastic and his steps are somewhat heavy—but some would argue that these factors making his blazing, sub-five-second 40-yard dash even more impressive.

While NFL scouts would like to see more than 20 games of tape on Turner, the other side of the argument is that at just 20 years old, he has very little tread on the tires. Also, certain inadequacies in his overall game could be attributed to his lack of development within a system. NFL clubs love players who they can tailor-fit for what they do offensively. The NFL team that drafts Turner will do so with optimistic hopes that he'll be an immediate, high-value addition for interior line depth with upside to step into a starting role if need be, even as a rookie.  

Draft Projection: 3rd-4th Round


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.