Trai Turner, Offensive Guard, Louisiana State
Weight: 310 lbs
Bench: 25 reps
Trai possesses ideal size for an athletic guard. He has above average arm length and has a very solid build. Thick lower body and carries his weight well. Looks the part of an NFL guard. His long arms play into his game and he knows how to use his length to his advantage.
Turner has a very good level of functional strength. He plays with good leverage and has a strong punch off the snap. He is able to lock on the inside of players and control. His core strength allows him to stay balanced and recover. His lower body strength is good, he can drive defenders and stonewall in pass pro. If he can harness his raw power and use it the way he shows he can, he will be a nightmare in the trenches.
A better athlete than given credit for, Turner stays light on his feet and keeps them moving. He stays active with his hands and feet, making lateral movement easier for him. It isn't always pretty but he's a very capable down field blocker.
Shows the potential to be a great run blocker. He fires out of his stance and stays low. Has a good punch to jolt defenders. He is capable of driving defenders out of lanes as well as walling them off. Rarely beat on run plays. Needs to continue to gain experience in picking up scraping linebackers but as he is only a RS Sophomore with limited games, it is expected. Secures the first level before moving on. Needs to build consistency in his drive blocking. He can be nasty in the run game.
In the first image you can see Trai with good form. Hands inside, solid base despite garbage around his feet, not letting the defender disengage.
In picture 2, he's driven the defender back two yards and has eliminated him from the play.
In the third frame, Trai has the guy beat and is about to finish him. DT is off balance and done.
However, instead of finishing the block and burying the DT, he tries to chuck him down and essentially releases him. Inexperience rearing it's head.
Space Blocks (traps, pulls, 2nd level):
Good form when pulling. Quick direct step. No wasted movement. Gets there in a hurry with choppy steps. Shows big upside in space. Able to get in front of defenders at the 2nd level and make the block. Forces defenders to go around him, not giving an easy path. His length gives him some leeway in missing open field blocks, he can reach better than most guards. When he does miss, he misses on the up field shoulder.
In this first image, he takes a pretty decent angle to the LB but is just beaten by the LB making a good read.
He doesn't give up, continues to go after the LB using his length to reach and stop the LB from being able to fill the hole or cover a cutback lane.
Now with his reach and positioning, Trai is able to seal off the LB and create the lane for the RB to hit hard.
That sequence shows his ability to recover against more athletic players, his ability to utilize his length and hands and his understanding of where the runner will be.
Power Pass Pro:
Trai shows exceptional ability to anchor in pass pro. He sets well and has a strong base. His core allows him to control when the defenders bull rush. Keeps his hands active at all times. Keeps his feet moving allowing him to reset and continue blocking. Stays balanced and on his feet.
Speed Pass Pro:
Turner has very light feet and rarely gets caught with his feet stuck or without them moving. He moves laterally well is able to pick up defenders. When defenders get too fancy, he punishes them with a punch. He is prone to missing a block occasionally due to his inexperience more than any flaw in his game. Recovers well when beaten due to his quick feet.
Initial move by defender is to attack Trai, but is rejected by a strong punch. He tries to regroup.
He tries again to engage Trai but again is rejected when trying an inside move as Trai moves laterally to cut him off.
Last effort by the DT as Mettenberger goes down. Tries a spin move as the play ends and Trai punishes him with a good shot to the back.
Where does he play?
Trai is an interior lineman through and through. Little doubt there. He is the kind of blocker who can transform a run game. In the Bengals offense, he could play LG, RG or even get looks at center. Clint Boling is a solid player but he's just average as a starter. Pollak was signed to start, be it at guard or center. Turner is probably better than those two and could easily give Zeitler a run for his money. You find a spot for Trai Turner.
He's very inexperienced seeing as he is only a RS Sophomore, so a lot of this is projection on him getting better with time. Really would have benefited from another year at LSU. A lot of his issues come from mental lapses which should be fixed with more reps. He has no "poison pill" aspect to his game. Richardson has his cement feet (as does Jackson). There are no real holes in his game that would cause you to say, "well, that will hold him back." And that's huge for a guard.
The Bonus Round:
Trai Turner is a dick, and that's a good thing. Some people call it "piss and vinegar." He will block until the whistle and more often than not makes sure he gets the last word in. He's not above getting that last push or jawing a bit. He is going to bring it to the DL whenever he can. Bend the rules but don't break them. Nothing is really flag-worthy or excessive, just making sure they know he's there blocking them and it won't be an easy day up front.
An all around good play from Trai, initial contact on the pull made 1 yard behind the LOS.
Here, a yard beyond the first down marker the whistle blows and play is dead.
And now the play is long over, and he's still trying to bury the defender.
This is a trend you see with him. He does it fairly regularly.
Maybe it's optimistic hope on my end, but I think the success of Whitworth will have some play here. We like reaching back to schools we have had success with. We love our Bulldogs. Why not love us some Bayou Bengals as well?
Had he stayed at LSU another year, he could easily be a first round guard prospect. You may have to deal with some early growing pains but the reward in the end is worth it. As the draft nears he is steadily climbing the boards. Most places have him in that 2-4 range. I think he would be an incredible pick in the 2nd round and an absolute steal any later. Trai in the first round shouldn't be ruled out entirely. If Travis Frederick can be a first rounder, then so can Trai.
video stills courtsey of CBS and Draftbreakdown.com
grading scale and category breakdowns from Joe Goodberry