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Production Must Stand Out for Turner

By Dave Singleton
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Dave Holcomb discusses Virginia Tech wide receiver Tre' Turner.

There is a lot to like with Virginia Tech wide receiver Trè Turner. But as is the case with all prospects expected to be Day 3 draft selections, the Hokies wideout comes with his question marks too.

Turner generated offense at Virginia Tech despite turmoil at quarterback throughout his career. Not only did he produce, Turner displayed explosiveness, averaging 17.1 yards per reception with the Hokies.

But he is hardly the first wide receiver to do well with a below average situation behind center in a small sample. Turner needed to test well to improve his draft stock this offseason.

Unfortunately, he didn’t do that. Now, to be selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, Turner must hope his game film trumps his poor testing from the offseason.

There is little denying that Turner has talent. He arrived at Virginia Tech as a 4-star prospect in the 2018 recruiting class. Based on the 247Sports composite rankings, Turner was the eighth-best recruit from North Carolina and No. 34 wide receiver during his recruiting cycle.

He made an immediate impact with his talent, posting 535 receiving yards on just 26 catches as a freshman in 2018.

The 20.6 yards per catch mark he posted that year remained the best average of his career. But Turner averaged at least 15.6 yards per reception in all four of his seasons while increasing his targets every year.

This past season, Turner caught 40 passes for 675 yards, posting 16.9 yards per reception. He also rushed for 64 yards on 12 carries.

In his career, Turner recorded 456 yards and scored four touchdowns on the ground. Overall, he had 2,748 yards from scrimmage and 18 total touchdowns in college.

Again, the big plays for Turner jump off his stat sheet. He registered at least a 20 yards per catch average in 15 games at Virginia Tech (in four of those games, he had one reception).

To do that while the yards per pass average of Virginia Tech’s starting quarterback dropped the last two seasons is incredible. In 2021, Braxton Burmeister averaged 7.7 yards per pass.

Turner was Virginia Tech’s only pass catcher with more than seven receptions to post a yards per catch average greater than 13 yards.

But that kind of production will only go so far in the minds of NFL scouts. Turner also needed to prove his skills could translate at the next level by performing adequately in combine drills.

Turner didn’t do that. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds and didn’t post above average numbers in any of the other drills.

“His poor testing at the NFL Scouting Combine raises questions about his ability to uncover as a pro,” NFL analyst Lance Zierlein wrote. “Turner has ball skills and put together some good tape, but he lacks the physical and athletic traits to help his draft slotting.”

One thing Zierlein complimented Turner on was his “more developed route tree.” But draft analyst Joe Marino of The Draft Network was more critical of Turner’s route running. Marino also wrote that Turner leaves something to be desired in terms of strength.

Marino, though, had a positive outlook on Turner playing at the next level.

“Turner will need to diversify his route tree, and I believe he would benefit from additional mass and functional strength, which would only be an asset to him at the line of scrimmage, the top of routes, at the catch point, and as a ball-carrier,” wrote Marino.

“Turner has the makings of a top-three option for an NFL passing game with inside/outside versatility and appeal at all levels of the field.”

To get his first NFL opportunity, though, a team will have to fall in love with his college production and be willing to draft him despite poor test results at the NFL combine.

Dave Singleton - A graduate of the University of Missouri, Singleton has followed national college football intensely since 2000. He has written for E-sports and Bleacher Report before starting his own site, Pigskin Punditry, in 2009. He writes a national column for Southern Pigskin.