A Versatile EDGE Prospect Who Would Be a Terrific Fit for Brian Flores’ Defense in 2024

Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner (15) reacts during the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NFL Draft is once again full of pass rushing talent.

Considering Minnesota could face a very dire need at the position this spring, they are a team that should certainly be considering the 11th overall pick on such a player in April. One of the more versatile EDGE prospects in this draft class is Dallas Turner, and he is the focus of today’s edition of the Vikings Draft Thermometer series.

Overview

Versatile EDGE
Dec 2, 2023; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner (15) celebrates after a sack in the second quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 242 pounds
  • Arm Length: TBD
  • Hand Size: TBD
  • Wingspan: TBD
  • School: Alabama
  • Games Watched: LSU (2023), Ole Miss (2023), Georgia (2023), Texas A&M (2023)

Dallas Turner was incredibly hyped-up recruit coming out of high school. receiving a five-star rating from 247 Sports. Overall, he was the 12th-ranked recruit in the Class of 2021, and the No. 1 player at the EDGE position.

Naturally, after receiving offers from many notable programs, this led Turner to commit to the University of Alabama where he went on to live up to the majority of this hype. He was a consensus All-American in 2023 and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and now, he is hoping to bring that same production to the NFL level.

Statistics

Oct 14, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner (15) reacts after holding Arkansas Razorbacks to a loss of yardage during the fourth quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2021: 30 tackles, 10 TFLs, 35 pressures, 8.5 sacks (11 games)
  • 2022: 37 tackles, 8 TFLs, 37 pressures, 4 sacks (13 games)
  • 2023: 53 tackles, 14.5 TFLs, 55 pressures, 10 sacks, 1 pass defended, 2 forced fumbles (14 games)

Strengths

Dec 2, 2023; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner (15) celebrates after a sack in the second quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Turner is capable of winning as a pass rusher from all over the field. He can beat offensive tackles off the edge, or he can slither his way through the middle of an offensive line when lining up as a true linebacker in the box.

Turner is an explosive athlete, which comes in handy in a number of different ways. He not only can completely outmatch linemen with his burst off the line of scrimmage, but he is a very capable tackler downfield. Alabama had him drop back into coverage on tight ends and even slot receivers, and he can chase down ball carriers in the open field to limit big plays. He had a very impressive leaping pass defense against LSU this season as well, showcasing that he is a complete athlete on the football field.

Only turning 21 years old in February, Turner also has youth on his side compared to other prospects in this class such as Jared Verse or Laiatu Latu. Both players are currently 23.

Weaknesses

Nov 25, 2023; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Payton Thorne (1) runs away from a pass rush by Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner (15) at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest question mark with Turner right now is his size. He is a very slight pass rusher, and while he seemed to pack on a few pounds in 2023, he needs to continue building out his frame to find success in the NFL.

Oftentimes, he was not able to shed blockers when matched up with larger, longer tackles, and his bull-rush is not very effective at this point. As a result, he wasn’t entirely useful in run defense, either. For now, he is a bit of a one-trick pony in terms of his technique, heavily relying on athleticism to win reps.

NFL Projection

Sep 24, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner (15) celebrates after defeating the Vanderbilt Commodores at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama won 55-3. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
  • Draft Stock: First Round-Top 50
  • Immediate Role: Rotational pass rusher
  • NFL Comp: Haason Reddick
  • Vikings Draft Thermometer (1-100): 65

The Vikings are in the midst of a rebuild among their pass rushing group. As things currently stand in February, the only outside linebackers on their roster are Pat Jones and Andre Carter. Of course, the hope is that Minnesota will reach a new contract agreement with Danielle Hunter at the very least, but they certainly could be in the mix to draft another pass rusher in April.

Turner certainly isn’t the most polished player at this point in time, but he has a ton of potential given his age and supreme athletic ability. His ability to pass rush from all over the field as well as help out in coverage would make him an unpredictable piece of Brian Flores’ defense in 2024.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via 247 SportsPro Football Focus and Sports Reference CFB.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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