Payton Turner - EDGE, Houston
By the numbers:
6'5", 270 pounds.
35" arms, 84" wingspan per Senior Bowl measurements. His wingspan is the longest measured for an EDGE player since 1999.
2020: 25 tackles (10.5 for loss), five sacks in five games.
For a guy who played in the interior for the majority of his collegiate career, Payton Turner's journey to becoming an EDGE is impressive. He lost 20 pounds heading into 2020 and it certainly paid off, as he put his explosiveness and overall athleticism on full display. He has a good first step and understands leverage well, can move laterally and redirect himself quickly when needed. Turner's transition to being a defensive end was a smooth one.
Turner generates decent power with that first step and his motor runs hot. He offers a heap of potential due to the fact that his recent production and athletic ability are both good. At 270 pounds, he can be kicked inside as a 4i-tech on the inside shoulder of the tackle or perhaps even a three-tech on obvious passing downs. His familiarity on the inside is a plus.
While Turner is quick, he isn't very fast. Pure speed rushers have a lot more to offer in the pace of their game, as well as better bend than Turner. He brings power to the table but isn't an overpowering pass-rusher. For those reasons, he's garnered the dreaded "tweener" label.
Turner needs time to develop his pass-rush plan at the next level. He displays decent hand usage and has a respectable array of moves, but oftentimes struggles to implement them consistently on the field. He's likely a situational player until he can set the edge against the run and diversify his mix against the pass.
How Turner fits with the Chiefs:
Turner checks the position-of-need box for the Chiefs, as they have several EDGE rushers set to hit free agency. Tanoh Kpassagnon, Taco Charlton and Alex Okafor all could be playing elsewhere in 2021 and while Mike Danna is solid, more depth needs to be added across from Frank Clark. Turner's size is consistent with what Steve Spagnuolo prefers in his defensive ends and his versatility and athleticism would be welcomed additions to the Chiefs' front four.
After the first couple of rounds in each draft, teams may want to pick based on potential over need. If the Chiefs took Turner, they'd be addressing both of those. Although he has a lot of room to grow, he did quite well in his abbreviated senior season and boasts raw explosiveness and power that make him a very intriguing prospect. His stock should only improve as the draft process ensues but right now, he grades out as a third-round pick with the potential to be a downright steal in the long run.