Finding Broncos: Scouting Houston Edge Rusher Payton Turner

Finding Broncos scouts the 2021 NFL draft class to find the best Mile High fits. What's the scoop on Payton Turner and how would he fit in Denver?
Publish date:

Welcome to Finding Broncos, our annual prospect-by-prospect series deep-diving on the coming NFL draft class. The scouting continues with Houston edge rusher Payton Turner, a talented prospect but does he fit the Denver Broncos?


  • Height: 6 foot 5
  • Weight: 270 pounds




  • Has good versatility in his role and scheme.
  • Hands are active and has good technique.
  • While he isn’t very bendy or flexible, he is loose enough to attack out of a 2-point stance.
  • His length is insane and he plays low to really maximize the length and play with leverage.
  • Will never give up on a play and has some come from behind type plays during his college career.
  • Good power at the point of attack to hold up against the run.
  • Does a solid job with converting speed to power.
  • Lateral agility isn’t great but is good enough to attack on stunts.

What happens next on the Broncos? Don't miss out on any news and analysis! Take a second and sign up for our free newsletter and get breaking Broncos news delivered to your inbox daily!


  • At Houston, he was moved around a lot and attack from multiple spots, which seemed to impact his ability to make early reads on plays.
  • Technique is hit or miss.
  • Needs to be a set place for him in the NFL to get the technique down and used consistently before moving him around.
  • If you play him as a 2-point rusher, he doesn’t have what it takes to drop into coverage.
  • Could be more power to bench offensive linemen off his frame.
  • Isn’t super explosive off the snap but has decent enough burst.


There is a lot to like with Turner because he made a lot of plays at Houston. He plays with good power, which helps him be used from multiple spots, but it seems to have hampered his overall development.

He has alpha edge potential but should be limited to a number 3 role early on in his career. While he has good versatility, he might be best as a 4-3 end as a 7-technique, or bulking up about 10 pounds and being a 3-4 end 5-technique.

Fit with Broncos

Turner’s fit with the Broncos is a peculiar one. They need edge help, but as he is now, he just isn’t a fit as a stand-up 2-point rusher for every snap.

If they used a wider variety of fronts and would line him up as a 7-technique in a 3-point stance, he could work. If they want to make him work without adding more fronts, then the best option is to bulk him up 10 pounds and play him as a 5-technique. If they do that, he could fill in the hole that could be left with DeMarcus Walker’s departure.

Grade: Round 3

Where he goes: Round 3

Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel.

Follow Mile High Huddle on Twitter and Facebook.

Subscribe to Mile High Huddle on YouTube for daily Broncos live-stream podcasts!