Payton Turner Draft Profile
No defensive end’s film has surprised me more than Payton Turner’s this year. It was really, really good stuff. Quite frankly, I thought he played a lot better than some of these guys who are being looked at as day one picks. Now-a-days it seems like everybody wants that freakish athletic defensive end who run a 4.4 and are built like Myles Garrett. While those players are great athletes, they’re not all Myles Garrett. Payton Turner has an old school vibe to him and he’s just an absolute baller. Standing at 6’5 270 lbs., Turner is ginormous and he’s physically dominant on the football field. He might not look like the Myles Garrett and Chase Young’s of the world, but he is a dog in pads. If you want to go back a little, he looks a little bit like Jonathan Abraham the old Falcons defensive end. Turner may not be a day one pick, but I’m willing to bet that he’ll be one of the five best defensive ends in this year’s draft.
Turner’s combination of strength and bend is rare. He gets so low to the ground at the top of his rush, the physics of his play style just don’t make sense. Leading up to game week, opposing offensive lineman may need a few extra reps on the bench press to prepare for Turner. His pure strength is overwhelming and shows up on film. If teams need Turner to play on the inside, he is capable of doing it, but I still think he’s better at defensive end. Against BYU, Turner was giving Zach Wilson troubles and he averaged one sack per game in 2020. On top of being a very powerful pass rusher, he is also an elite run stuffer. Between both Turner’s strength and size, he naturally fills running lanes and is a monster in the trenches. Turner is a player that you’d want to go to war with and I can see him being a perennial nine sack a year type of player.
There are a lot of systematic errors with how Turner was used at Houston. For example, I wasn’t sure if it was scheme or just his eyes to deceiving him when playing against the read option. It seemed like he would just be constantly chasing down the wrong player. On normal pass drops, Turner would get pushed too far inside on plays losing containment. Other times, Turner goes too far upfield on his rush. These are all just little coaching points that I believe can be fixed due to his ability to drop his body weight low to the floor and his sheer strength.
There are a lot of teams that can use an old-school defensive end like Payton Turner. As I mentioned earlier, Turner reminds me a lot of Jonathan Abraham, but if you want a modern day comparison look at Cameron Jordan. To me Turner is a top five defensive end in the draft and I gave him an early second round grade. The Texans have a lot of holes on their roster, but I think he would be a guy who can be a force on their defensive line from day one. The Giants and Falcons will both most likely not take a defensive end on day one, but it’s still a hole on their roster. If Turner were to go on day one, it would be a shocker. I’m hearing teams view him as a mid-day two pick. The Bills could pull the trigger on him round one and I wouldn’t hate the move. Reunite him with Ed Oliver and that defensive line will be able to get pressure on Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, etc. Turner is the most slept on defensive end in this draft.
Run Defender 6/7
Pass Rush Moves 4.75/6
Get Off/Motor 3.75/5
Final Rating: 80
Pro Comparison: Jonathan Abraham
Team Fits: Texans, Giants, Falcons, Bills
Draft Ranking: Early Second Round Pick
Draft Projection: Late Second Round Pick - Early Third Round Pick