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NFL Draft Preview: Clemson's Nolan Turner Earned Himself an Opportunity

Former Tigers Safety Could be a Day 3 Selection

CLEMSON, S.C. — It is not often Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin waits behind the media scrum to speak to a potential draft prospect. It is especially interesting when the player is not even considered a first or second round pick.

But there Tomlin stood, along with Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, patiently waiting for Nolan Turner to end his conversation with some in the media. When he was done, Tomlin greeted Turner as the three gentlemen walked inside the Allen Reeves Football Complex to continue their conversation.

The Steelers’ interest in Turner was not unexpected. The former Clemson safety was the big winner at Clemson’s Pro Day back on March 17, as he showed off his speed, agility, and vertical skills to all 32 NFL teams in attendance.

The performance likely landed Turner an opportunity to hear his name called during this week’s 2022 NFL Draft in Las Vegas. If selected, the All-American safety will likely be a Day 3 pick.

“I think I came out here and proved that I was athletic enough. I got the tape,” Turner said. “At the end of the day, I think I have the speed and athleticism to play at the next level.”

A three-year starter at Clemson, Turner definitely has the tape. He has been a starter on a defense that consistently is one of the best in the country.

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The two-time captain has played in big games, too. Such as two national championship games. He has made big plays, as well, like his game-winning interception against Ohio State in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl.

The Steelers interest in Turner continued after Clemson’s Pro Day. He and fellow Clemson teammate James Skalski visited Pittsburgh on separate days back on April 7 and April 8.

Reportedly, Turner was just one of three safeties the Steelers brought in for a visit. Virginia’s Joey Blount and Cincinnati’s Bryan Cook were the others. The Steelers Depot ranks Turner second on their interest chart on what Pittsburgh could be looking for in a safety, a position of need for the Steelers heading into the draft.

At Clemson’s Pro Day, Turner said he spoke with a few other teams during the draft process, but he has not spoken with one team more than the others. The Steelers are likely not the only team interested in Turner, as teams prefer to not show their cards, especially the closer they get to the draft.

Turner spoke with several teams during the week leading up to the East-West Shrine Game in Las Vegas back in February and he spoke with them again at Clemson’s Pro Day.

“I am not talking to anyone specific. I just kinda gotten interviews from a bunch of different teams,” he said. “I have heard some good feedback from some of them. We will just see what happens.”

The 2022 NFL Draft will begin Thursday night in Las Vegas and will run through Saturday. The first round will be Thursday, followed by rounds two and three on Friday and then four through seven on Saturday.