The Cincinnati Bengals watched Chidobe Awuzie go down with a torn ACL last season, and they instantly knew their secondary was in trouble with both Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell hitting the free agency market.
Thankfully, rookie Cam Taylor-Britt stepped up nicely and is set to be a key piece of the puzzle for the long-term future. Who else was going to step up and play a pivotal role in this season’s secondary?
While Eli Apple might have been brought back, that storyline changed when the Bengals drafted cornerback DJ Turner, adding to their collection of former Michigan Wolverines. They took Michigan safety Dax Hill with their first-round pick a season ago.
Turner is expected to have an instant impact on the Bengals’ defense that is short on quality cornerbacks. He will look to model his game after Bengal great Leon Hall, who called the recently drafted corner.
“He told me congrats and just let me know when you get in town. Stuff like that,” Turner said via Geoff Hobson. “I heard about his game. That’s how I heard about him. How he could do both,” on playing both on the boundary and in the slot.
Playing in both the slot and on the outside is rare in the NFL, but it sounds like Turner thinks he can do just that in Cincinnati.
Turner, who stands six feet tall, is coming to Cincinnati after three seasons at Michigan. He ended with 36 tackles and one interception in his final year. He has aspirations to be able to do it all.
Hall, who was the team’s first-round pick in 2007, spent the first nine years of his career with the Bengals, totaling 26 interceptions and 112 passes defended with the organization.