Player Spotlight: Alabama EDGE Dallas Turner

Turner was a first-team All-American in 2023.
Turner was a first-team All-American in 2023. / Brandon Sumrall/GettyImages

Name: Dallas Turner
Position: Edge Rusher
School: Alabama
Age (Draft Day): 21
Height/Weight: 6'3", 247 lbs


Turner had massive shoes to fill with Will Anderson Jr. now in the NFL. He did about as well as you could have reasonably expected. The true junior posted 10 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss in 2023, bringing his career totals to 22.5 and 32.5 respectively. For reference, Anderson had 34.5 and 58.5 in those two categories when he left Tuscaloosa.

The truth is, it is unfair to compare Turner to Anderson. Anderson was one of the best edge rushers we have seen in the past five years or so. Turner has the potential to be really good, but he is not that level of prospect. However, he is a toolsy, ascending player with good production and unbelievable testing numbers. Turner is in the mix to be the first defensive player selected in this draft.


Speed: To call Turner fast would be an understatement. Turner ran a blazing 4.46 40-yard dash at the combine, which is 98th percentile for edge players. That speed shows up on tape too. Turner can turn and drop in coverage with running backs and tight ends. He can chase down ballcarriers. His closing speed when he is going in for a hit is scary.

Leverage: Turner is a bit undersized, but he uses that to his advantage. He can get underneath the shoulder pads of opposing linemen and drive them back. He goes to war at the point of attack and goes speed to power with that leverage to make a clear impact on the game.

Versatility: Alabama lined Turner up all over the formation. He would operate as a stand-up rusher off the edge, play with his hand in the dirt in a seven-technique or even wide nine, blitz as an off-ball linebacker and drop into coverage all over the field. Turner will be best used as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but he is comfortable moving around the formation and taking on a variety of responsibilities.


Pass-rushing plan: At this stage, Turner is mostly just winning with speed and power. His hand usage is inconsistent and largely ineffective. He will break out a long arm and a bullrush consistently, but there is none of the refinement that he will need to be successful at the next level. He needs to add a couple more moves to his arsenal as well. Every once in a while, he will set up linemen to hit them with an inside swim or a spin, but those instances are too few and far between at this stage.

Consistency in block shedding: Turner has really long arms, which allows him to keep blockers away from his chest. However, his block shedding is nowhere near consistent enough. He can struggle to get off blocks and loses to tight ends as a run defender way too often. There is something to be said for eating up blockers to free up his teammates, but Turner will have to improve his ability to disengage once he reaches the NFL.

Weight: Turner is an incredible athlete with good production and measurables. That is, except for his weight. He is in just the 9th percentile at 247 pounds. He has flashes of good power, but he will get pinned by pulling blockers and can get blown up by interior offensive linemen. If he can add another 10 or so pounds to his frame without compromising his speed too much, he will fare much better at the point of attack.

NFL Comparison: Brian Burns

C.j. Beathard, Brian Burns
Carolina Panthers v Jacksonville Jaguars / Don Juan Moore/GettyImages

Burns had a similar build coming out of Florida State back in 2019. He was a great tester with impressive speed and good production. Burns has developed into one of the better edge rushers in the league and just signed a massive deal with the Giants this offseason. If Turner winds up following a similar career trajectory, that will be a really good start to his NFL tenure.

NFL Draft Outlook: Top 20 pick

This loaded offensive class will inevitably push a few of the better defensive players down the board. Turner could be the first defensive player selected. His range starts at No. 8 with the Falcons, but the Broncos, Jaguars, Seahawks and Rams all feel like potential landing spots. I wouldn't back Turner for Rookie of the Year, but he might have the most upside of any defensive player in this draft class.

Grade: 88