2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Michigan CB D.J. Turner

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I will be profiling Michigan cornerback D.J. Turner.

#5 D.J. Turner, CB, Michigan (SR) — 5112, 178 lbs.

Combine/Pro Day


Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
D.J. Turner 5114, 178 9 5/8 30 3/4 N/A
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
4.26 1.47 N/A N/A
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
10’11” 38.5 N/A

The Good

— 4.26 40-yard dash
— Experience in Man and Zone coverage
— Has played outside and in the slot
— Fluid mover and patient in Man coverage
— Uses his body and sideline well on deep throws
— Reads the QB in Zone, understands depths and zones
— Closes on the ball quickly underneath
— Gets his hands in the basket to break up passes

The Bad

— Light weight and adequate arm length
— Jam in press and through zones is marginal
— Physical receivers will give him trouble
— Panics and grabs the arm of receiver on deep routes
— Struggles to get off blocks
— Not interested in playing run defense
— Doesn’t come to balance coming downhill as a tackler
— Heads up tackling technique and effort is marginal at best


— 2022 – 36 tackles, 27 solo, 1 TFL, 1 INT, 10 PBU, 1 FR returned for TD, 1 PR for 3 yards
— Career – 69 tackles, 53 solo, 2 TFL, 3 INT, 17 PBU, 1 FR, 2 PR for 28 yards
— 36 games, 22 starts
— 2022 Second Team All-Big Ten
— 2021 Shared Most Improved Defensive player and Defensive Skill Player of the Year awards
— 4 Year Letterman
— 3 or 4 Star recruit out of high school
— Birthday 11/9/2000 (age 22)

Tape Breakdown

D.J. Turner certainly turned some heads at the Combine running a 4.26 40-yard dash. The former Wolverine was a starter the last two seasons and has experience playing outside and in the slot.

Turner was use in a variety of coverages including Press and Off Man, underneath Zone and will rotate to the deep half or third in Cover 2 and Cover 3. In Man coverage, while playing Press he shows good balance and pad level to mirror the receiver. He has loose hips and plenty of speed to r
un with the deep routes. On deep routes he uses his body well to lean on receivers to squeeze them to the sideline. On shorter routes, he can stay in the pocket of receivers. In Off Man, he has a smooth back pedal and good change of direction to react to the receivers cuts.

Vs Michigan State, Turner (5) is in good position on the deep ball using his body to ride the receiver out of bounds.

Lined up at the top, on the inbreaking route he adjusts to the ball well to go low and make the interception.

In the underneath Zone, he displays a good awareness of receivers in his area. He spaces well between routes and will get good depth to close the gap on deeper routes. In Zone, he reads the quarterback well and closes quickly to the ball showing good effort to get his hands in the basket to disrupt the throw. He was also used to blitz from the outside and the slot.

Whether in Zone or Man coverage he is effective closing on the ball and knocking it out.

Vs Purdue, he will get good depth to breakup the thrown over the top.

He uses his speed well to run down ball carriers and will come downhill to attempt to make tackles. When the receiver is facing away from him, he is aggressive to make a hit or take out the legs.

Speed! He is at the top of the screen and will chase down the QB.

He lacks solid arm length and his jam whether in press or trying to redirect receivers through the area is marginal. Physical receivers are going to have an advantage against him, and he will open his hips too quickly in Press. When he panics on deep routes his tendency is to grab the receivers arm and yank backward in a really obvious pass interference. He struggles to get off blocks due to effort and play strength. Run defense is not high on his list and he doesn’t have much of an effect in that area. When asked to be the force player he gives up space or will get to far inside giving up the edge. When facing a ball carrier head on he is tentative, and his technique is marginal. He doesn’t come to balance coming downhill and will miss tackles.

Vs Michigan State, the receiver will create space at the top with play strength and then Turner never gets in on the tackle.

Here are two plays where the receiver got over the top and in both scenarios he grabs the arm of the receiver with two hands and pulls him back. Amazingly, neither of these plays drew a penalty.

Tackling is not his best quality. Here are a couple of marginal efforts and a bad angle on the second one diving for the back of the legs.


Turner is a fluid athlete with impressive speed. He has experience playing inside and in the slot. In coverage, he has experience in Man coverage and Zone in the shallow area or rotating deep in Cover 2 or Cover 3. When in phase he uses his body well to lean on receiver in the deep area. He is able to click and close quickly in the short areas.

Areas to improve include adding play strength to handle jamming receivers and on 50/50 balls. He lacks length so positioning will be important for him. He must avoid grabbing the receiver’s arm when beat deep. Improving his tackling technique and aggressiveness will help him in the run game and tackling in general.

His size and physicality may give him issues in the NFL, but he is a competitor and can get his hands on the ball especially in the short area. I think he would fit best in a Zone heavy scheme if a team wants him to play outside. But I think his best fit initially is in the slot to stick with the quicker receivers. With added play strength he could move outside in a year or two. The Steelers like their DB’s to be willing run stoppers so I don’t see him as a great fit. My comp for Turner played for his collegiate rival and that is Kendall Sheffield. Both have great speed, are fluid and had good ball production while having some issues with strong receiver and were lacking in run support.

Projection: Late Day Two/Early Day Three

Depot Draft Grade:  7.6 Potential Starter/Good Backup (4th Round)

Games Watched: 2022 – Vs Penn State, Vs Michigan State, At Ohio State, Vs Purdue, Vs TCU

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