Between now and the May NFL Draft, Pewter Report will bring you a series of players that fill needs on the Buccaneers roster, and would fit the team. In the first installment, Eric Dellaratta profiles LSU offensive guard Trai Turner.
LSU OG TRAI TURNERVITAL STATS:
Turner stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 310 pounds. The LSU redshirt sophomore is a powerful run blocker that ran a 4.93 at the NFL Combine last month, which was the third fastest among all offensive linemen. CREDENTIALS
LSU offensive guard Trai Turner played in seven games during his redshirt freshman campaign. He started all seven of those games and registered 54 knockdowns.
The big offensive lineman started all 13 games for the Tigers in 2013, registering 64 knockdowns during his redshirt sophomore season. Turner earned second team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press.
Turner made the surprising decision to enter the 2014 NFL Draft despite having two more years of college eligibility remaining. The LSU redshirt sophomore is very young, as will be just 21 years old when the 2014 NFL season kicks off in September.
WHY HE COULD BE A RED AND PEWTER PLAYER
The Buccaneers offensive lineman is currently in the middle of a full-blown rebuild under the direction of general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith. The guard position could have two brand new starters for the start of the 2014 season. Tampa Bay released veteran guard Davin Joseph, following an extremely disappointing 2013 campaign.
The team also signed former Green Bay Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith, who will most likely be the team’s starter at the center position. This means that versatile offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah could be another player moved by the new regime. If not, Zuttah will compete for spot at one of the vacant offensive guard positions.
Highly paid 2012 free agent acquisition Carl Nicks’ future with the Buccaneers is very unclear. After being sidelined for the majority of the 2013 season symptoms from his MRSA infection, Nicks’ future in football is up in the air because of a recurring pain from a 2012 foot injury and another surgery to try and clean out the infection. The big offensive guard is owed quite a bit of money, so the Buccaneers have found themselves in a tricky situation.
Former Cleveland Browns offensive guard Oniel Cousins, who was coached in Cleveland by new Bucs line coach George Warhop, was signed by the Buccaneers earlier this month and is expected to compete for a starting job with the other guards on the Bucs’ roster.
The Buccaneers need to bring in some young talent at the offensive guard position to add to their offensive guard competition. If Tampa Bay chooses to select a guard later on in the draft, a player they could target is LSU offensive guard Trai Turner.
Turner is a tremendously powerful run blocker, mostly because of his lower body strength and leg drive. He’s a stockier offensive guard (6-3, 310) who carries most of his weight in his lower half, but that actually allows him to get more consistent leverage when blocking straight ahead. The LSU right guard has good quickness off of the ball, has a strong initial punch, and rarely is driven back off of the snap by defensive lineman.
In addition to his outstanding run-blocking, Turner is also a stout pass-protector that can hold up against quick and powerful interior defensive lineman. A strong base and good hand placement allow for Turner to stop pass-rushers in their tracks. A shortcoming that Turner will need to work on is his timing when engaging defenders in pass-protection. Sometimes, the LSU Tiger won’t extend his arms enough, which allows defenders to get into his frame. That can be fixed, especially with pro level coaching, but if not NFL defensive lineman will take advantage of this technique flaw.
PewterReport.com believes that Turner is being underrated, as he is only projected as a fifth round prospect by many talent evaluators. While he is inexperienced, Turner is a perfect guard to develop in the later rounds of the draft because of his NFL-ready running blocking and strength. The Buccaneers are certainly in the market for interior offensive lineman, and Turner would be an ideal selection for them on day three of the draft.
Turner is projected to be selected on day three of the draft, somewhere between rounds four and six.
Here is a video of Turner
and the LSU Tigers against the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2013.
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