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Mel Kiper Jr.: Dallas Turner must improve run defense

On3 imageby:Grant Grubbs04/01/24

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Jim Nagy Details What Makes Dallas Turner A Special Prospect | 12.28.23

Alabama linebacker Dallas Turner is nearly a unanimous pick to be the first defensive player selected in the 2024 NFL Draft. However, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. claims that doesn’t mean he is bust-proof.

“Is there any little bust factor?” Kiper said. “The thing is he’s got to play the run a little bit better. He’s got to improve against the run. That’s the one area of concern. Sealing the edge, being able to handle your run responsibilities in the NFL is huge. Will Dallas Turner be able to pick up the pace in that area?”

Turner’s accolades certainly don’t show any signs of weakness. In the 2023 regular season, Turner amassed 50 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 9.0 sacks, two forced fumbles, a pass breakup and 13 quarterback hurries.

Looking past the stat sheet, Turner boasts phenomenal physical attributes. At the NFL Scouting Combine in March, Turner ran a 4.46-second 40-yard dash with a 1.54-second 10-yard split. Nonetheless, run defense isn’t Kiper’s only concern for Tuner.

“The second thing is secondary countermoves as a pass rusher. Develop that,” Kiper said. “When I’m watching Dallas Turner, love the talent. He’s relentless when he’s getting after the quarterback.

“He, to me, got better because he wasn’t as productive in 2022 as he was in 2021. Put it all together this year. He’s supremely gifted, tested off the charts. I love the length. He’s got bend. Can you coach him to be the player he has to be?”

Joel Klatt raves about Dallas Turner’s potential ceiling

Despite Kiper’s concerns, other NFL analysts are all in on Turner. In March, FOX Sports analyst Joel Klatt raved about Turner and even compared him to fellow Alabama alum Will Anderson.

“Dallas might have a higher ceiling than Will Anderson,” Klatt said. “I’m not saying he’s definitely gonna get there. But, the attributes suggest that he’s got a higher ceiling. He’s not as consistent and he’s not as polished as what Will Anderson was.

“Will Anderson is an alpha. He’s a terrific player. That’s why he is the NFL rookie Defensive Player of the Year. As far as just a ceiling, Turner’s might be even a little bit higher.”

Fans won’t have to wait much longer to see which team is lucky enough to land Turner. The 2024 NFL Draft will be held in Detroit, Michigan, with the first round on Thursday, April 25, the second and third rounds on Friday, April 26, and the fourth through seventh rounds on Saturday, April 27.