New series we’ll conduct throughout the offseason. A review of individual players seasons, looking at their good, bad, role, and future with the team.
Today, breaking down OG Trai Turner in his first year with the team.
#51 Trai Turner – Offensive Guard (Entering 9th Season)
Pros: Aggressive player who has an edge. Looks to finish blocks in run game. Good base blocker and able to create movement at first level. Size and strength makes him an effective down blocker. Runs feet and plays through the whistle, likes to mix it up with defenders and is a tone-setter early in games. Looks for work in pass protection when uncovered and physical in pass pro. Able to anchor in pass pro against bull rushes. Tough player, plays hurt and toughs out injuries. Good veteran presence, leader and willing to mentor young guys with tricks of the trade. Smart, introspective personality and seemingly a good teammate.
Notable Plays (Physicality In Pass Protection):
Cons: Struggles to mirror rushes in pass pro, especially when linemen rush from opposite shade (outside shade with inside rush and vice versa). Drops head/eyes on contact and doubles over too often, plays with a lot of forward body lean. Gets beat by finesse moves and good hand-use DTs too often. Loses inside too often especially. Not the athlete he was and lumbers around in space, no longer an effective puller who has trouble staying on track with the back. Sack and penalty numbers are below average, higher than you’d like.
Notable Plays (Beat By Finesse In Pass Pro, Usually To Inside):
Role: Started 17 games in 2021, all at RG. First time he’s played in a full season since 2016 and just the third time of his eight year career. Logged 1054 total snaps on the year, most of any offensive lineman and any Steelers’ offensive player. Battled through knee injury late in season. Credited for 6.5 sacks and 5 penalties according to our charting.
Future: Pending free agent. Turner was signed to fill the position and veteran leadership of David DeCastro. Turner offered stability to a unit seeing big changes and on a baseline level, matched the ideals of the Steelers’ tough-guy, physical aspirations. But he’s on the backside of his career and is limited to a hard-edged, base run blocker at this point in his career. The Steelers should explore external options.