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Breaking down the Bengals’ selection of DJ Turner in Round 2

The Bengals pull another DB out of Ann Arbor.

Many expected the Cincinnati Bengals to take a defensive back in the first round, but they went with pass rush over pass coverage.

In Round 2, they got their cornerback. With the 60th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Bengals landed Michigan Wolverines defender DJ Turner.

Turner is 5-foot-11, 178 pounds, and ran a blazing fast 4.26 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

What he brings to the Bengals

Speed: Turner can absolutely fly! He is a bit smaller than what the Bengals generally look for at cornerback and lacks length, but his speed will make up for that. It’s not just straight-line speed. He has extremely smooth hips and makes fast, downhill breaks. The Bengals have put an emphasis on getting faster defensively, and by drafting Turner, they have continued to add speed.

Reads and Technique: Turner is one of the most technically refined cornerbacks in the draft. He has been well-coached and understands how to move efficiently. Turner does an excellent job of reading the receiver’s route and the quarterback’s eye’s alike. He rarely takes a false step, but when he does, he has the speed to get back in position (see above).

Why the Bengals picked Turner

Uncertainty: I love Chidobe Awuzie as much as anybody, but you never know how a player will be coming off an ACL injury. Turner gives them an incredibly talented cornerback who can step up if Awuzie has any setbacks or if another injury occurs.

Cost: I could probably copy/paste this from my breakdown of Myles Murphy, but I won’t. Cornerback, like defensive end, is a premium position, and you’ve got to pay a lot to get talented veterans at those positions. With Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins, and Ja’Marr Chase all looking for new deals in the next two years, the Bengals need all the money they can get. Turner, Taylor-Britt, and Dax Hill could give them a very cheap and extremely talented secondary.

DJ Turner is a phenomenal addition to the Bengals’ defense. He is an incredibly smooth athlete and a master technician. Turner and Taylor-Britt will be a hard combination for teams to throw on.

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