Joel Klatt reveals DJ Turner's ranking on top 50 draft players list

On3 imageby:Barkley Truax04/19/23

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Joel Klatt recently broke down his updated top 50 players in the 2023 NFL Draft. This time, Michigan CB DJ Turner II has cracked the list, coming in at No. 40 this time.

After Turner ran a blazing 4.26 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine — the fourth-fastest time at the event since 2003 — it forced analysts and scouts alike to reassess his draft stock. Klatt was no different.

“His speed, it shows up on tape. It really showed up during the testing,” Klatt said of Turner. “This is a [Michigan] defense that relies on man coverage on the outside — and remember, I talk about this all the time during the course of the season, they’re a defense that builds a run-wall inside, they have hard EDGEs rushing the QB on the outside — so they have to have good corners on the outside of their secondary and DJ Turner is certainly one of those guys.”

In 27 games over last two seasons, Turner has compiled three interceptions and 17 passes defensed along with 69 total tackles. He is a bit undersized at 5-foot-11 and 180-pounds, but his defensive prowess is unquestioned. Quarterbacks completed under 40 percent of their throws with Turner as the primary defender, according to tracking by ESPN Stats & Information.

The basic numbers don’t pop off the page for Turner like some fo the top DBs in the class, which is why he was skipped over in inital draft boards and rankings.

“One of the reasons I didn’t have him in my top 50 [originally], and I’ll be very frank with you, I overlooked him a little bit after the season,” Klatt revealed. “The reason is, there’s a corner that Michigan has that is younger [Will Johnson], that was frankly the better corner. It was hard, I was like, ‘You’re going to take the No. 2 corner from Michigan and make him a top 50 player?’ And you know what, after watching his film, after seeing him test — that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

Klatt expects Will Johnson to go a first-round draft choice once the Class of 2022 product is eligible. He might have outshined Turner during the season, but that doesn’t mean he can’t hold his own, and is why Klatt ranked him as the No. 40 overall product in this year’s cycle.

Originally listed by most to go during day three of the NFL Draft, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that he won’t go higher. Maybe not on the first day, but there will certainly be a team on day two looking for a defensive back that can run pace-by-pace with the fastest players in the league.