Possible Clary Replacement? Trai Turner, OG, LSU

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

A raw, yet powerful offensive lineman. Turner has a great skill set to develop into a very good player.

It's clear that San Diego not only needs depth, but also needs a potential starter along the interior line moving forward. Whether that's in 2014, or after, it needs to happen. You know the interest is strong in a player, When you send your offensive line coach to work him out and watch film with him, which is exactly what San Diego did at LSU's pro day. So how good is the 6'3, 310 pound red shirt sophomore?

I watched Turner against the 2 best run defenses he faced(Iowa & Alabama), as well as the top 2 pass defenses(Florida & Auburn), and decided to lump them all together for Turner. Because Turner left the Auburn game early, the next best defense was Mississippi.

Getting to the Second Level

Turner rana 4.93 40 yard dash, the 3rd fastest for all offensive lineman. Obviously, this is one of the least important traits for a lineman. However, Turner displayed very good quickness and proper footwork as he worked to the 2nd level.

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Once he locks on at the 2nd level, he would almost drive the linebacker out of the frame.

As I mentioned, footwork is important here. Turner showed that he can cross the linebackers face in order to seal them off.

Turner2ndlevel1_medium

Turner displayed that he has the athleticism to get to the 2nd level and be effective. He also showed he can pull and kick out defenders. There were a few times when working to the 2nd level, Turner would over run his target, or go to cut the linebacker, only to come up empty.

Issues as a Run Blocker

Issues might be too strong, because Turner displays some incredible functional strength at the point of attack for someone who doesn't play with the greatest technique. Turner does the moving, he doesn't get moved. He could be even better if he played with better leverage, and was able to get his hands inside more often. Turner playing high is likely what led to balance issues and being on the ground more than he should've been. Turner also had a tendency to drop his head and lunge, instead of seeing his target. This led to missed blocks at times.

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Luckily, these are all fixable issues, and it's not as if they were happening every other play, but it was certainly noticeable. Primarily his hands. I would like to see Turner get up under the defender, stay locked on, and drive him off the ball like I know he's capable of.

Playing Through The Whistle

Even though he's raw, I can see offensive line coaches falling in love with Turner because he plays through the whistle. He plays with a mean streak and loves to finish blocks and put defenders on the ground. His power really shows off in this sense, as he had double digit pancakes/knockdowns in the games I watched. You love to see that in your lineman.

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Turner politely helped #95 to the ground.

Hot & Cold as a Pass Blocker

Turners issues and strengths are almost consistent in the passing game as they are in the running game. When defenders try to bullrush Turner, it's no bueno. Turner is too strong, and just doesn't give up ground. He's also shown that he can lock his arms out and completely take pass rushers out of the picture. You can really see the upper body strength Turner displays as a pass protector.

Turner's inexperience really shows up in the passing game. He is slow to recognize stunts, or react to a counter move by the defender. Turner needs to do a better job of keeping his head on a swivel and show more awareness.

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This all seems like it will improve with repetition, but Turner can't continue to play off balance as a pass protector. The NFL will have tape on him, and will continue to beat him with a counter move instead of trying to beat him at his strength.

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I believe with the stunts, it's not only him late to recognize them, but he also takes long steps, instead of short choppy ones. This hurts Turner's ability to redirect defenders. It might seem like he's useless as a pass rusher, but you just can't teach the power he has.

Grade/Final Thought

Multiple Pro Bowl Player, Top 10 8.5 – 9.0
Highly Productive Starter, 1st Round 8.0 – 8.4
Very Good Starter, Early 2nd Round 7.8 – 7.9
Reliable Starter, 2nd Round 7.5 – 7.7
Potential Starter in Year 2, 3rd Round 7.0 – 7.4
Backup/Spot Starter, 4th Round 6.5 – 6.9
Productive Backup, 5th Round 6.0 – 6.4
Very Good Backup/STs, 6th Round 5.5 – 5.9
Quality Backup/Good STs, 7th Round 5.0 – 5.4
Backup/STs/Project Player, 7th Round 4.5 – 4.9
Priority Free Agent w/ Limitations 4.0 – 4.4
Non-Draftable 4.0

Trait Weight Grade
Run Block 4 3.7
Pass Block 4 3.3
Technique 2.5 1.8
Strength 2.5 2.3
Awareness 2 1.1
Change of Direction 2 1.7
Flexibility 2 1.3
Quickness 2 1.8
Size 2 1.6
Length 2 1.9

Turner grades out to a 7.38, or a 3rd round talent. He has some cleaning up to do as far as his awareness, and technique goes. But he has plenty of traits that stand out and make you think he can be successful at the next level, like his strength, ability to get to the 2nd level,and mean streak he plays with. Turner could go as high as the late 2nd rounder, because a team will feel like they can mold him into something special, or could go in the 4th or 5th round because teams feel like he's too much of a project.

How He Fits as a Charger

Well, Joe D'Alessandris worked Turner out, so he should have a pretty good feel for what Turner can do. The Chargers bread and butter is a "Power" play where the guard pulls(something Jeromey Clary was atrocious at), and Turner did this at a high level at LSU. We know San Diego wants to pound the ball, but have athletic lineman who can get to the 2nd level on zone running plays as well. Turner fits this profile perfectly. He will need to improve as a pass blocker from a technical standpoint, but one would think repetition would fix this. Turner is a good fit for San Diego's offense.

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