The Baltimore Ravens need to find some cornerback help in the 2023 NFL draft. Should they have eyes on Michigan cornerback D.J. Turner?
Baltimore Ravens Draft Profile: Michigan CB D.J. Turner
D.J. Turner redshirted his first season, then hardly played in the 2020 COVID season. In 2021, he broke out as one of the top cornerbacks on the team. He brought it back for 2022 and was on the defense that went to the playoffs for two straight seasons.
Turner finished his career with 1,377 snaps, and 832 snaps in coverage, about 280 of those snaps were in man coverage. He played 1,202 snaps on the outside and 167 snaps in the slot.
D.J. Turner was well known after the NCAA playoffs, but he went to the NFL combine and showed how fast he is.
His height is not a big issue, but he is rather thin and has shorter-than-average arms. A lot of that can be made up by how explosive he is as an athlete. The 4.26 40-yard dash can show that.
How Michigan CB D.J. Turner projects to the NFL
D.J. Turner does not have much experience in the slot, but a lot of teams are going to ask him to play there. Still, he could have the deep speed to play on the outside. Still, the obvious concerns are shown with his weight and lack of arm length. There are bigger bodied wide receivers who can beat him.
Beyond that, he is not going to be able to play press in the NFL. He has man coverage skills and is fluid with his change of direction abilities. He can follow wideouts all over the field and is better at breaking routes over the middle than some others. That, with his deep speed, can help some of the issues. However, he has to play a bit more physical, and he is not aware enough of the ball in the air. With his size issues, this is an issue where bigger wideouts can box him out and catch passes over him.
NFL Comparison for Michigan CB D.J. Turner
The best NFL comparison for D.J. Turner is Donte Jackson. They have similar physical and athletic frames. The big reason they are a great comparison is that Jackson still plays on the outside primarily for the Carolina Panthers. That is despite being undersized and lacking length. Jackson has the speed and is quick enough and smart enough to make up for it.
Still, he is the cornerback two on the team and he is up and down. He can get burnt when matched u with the bigger and better wide outs. The Panthers drafted Jaycee Horn, who is a nice offset to his skill set, and allows them to play man, leaving Jackson the smaller wide outs, and Horn on the bigger players. That would be the ideal fit for D.J. Turner in the NFL, assuming he is not asked to move around more.
Should Baltimore Ravens draft D.J. Turner?
From the Ravens' perspective, he has a lot of similar traits to Ar'Darius Washington, but he is bigger than Washington was coming out. The Ravens like versatile players, and may like that he can play inside and outside. Beyond that, he has the foot speed for man coverage that you do not see as much. Coming from Michigan, he obviously has ties with Mike MacDonald, which cannot hurt. Beyond that, the Ravens can get the Harbaugh inside scoop.
Right now D.J. Turner is projected to be a third round pick. If the Ravens go wide receiver early they may need a cornerback with their next pick. They could be looking at D.J. Turner right there.