It is going to be fascinating to watch how the 2022 wide receiver class is handled when the draft finally arrives. This draft class lacks the top end “Blue Chip” talent that’s defined many wide receiver classes over the last decade. But while the top of the depth chart isn’t loaded, there are still a lot of good receivers in this class, and still more who can be important role players for an offense.
That could lead to a lot of “to taste” draft boards, and how receivers are ranked could be very different from team to team.
Teams that are looking for receivers who specialize in yards after the catch and blocking could look to Tre Turner out of Virginia Tech. Turner wasn’t featured in the Hokies’ run-first offense, but he consistently flashed with the ball in his hands.
The New York Giants have a lot of needs on the offensive side of the ball, even before they make tough decisions to free cup salary cap space. One of those needs is likely at the wide receiver position, where the Giants lacked consistency, dependability, and depth.
The Giants can’t afford to shop at the top of the draft for all their (many) needs, so could a potential mid-round receiver like Turner be appealing?
Prospect: Tre Turner (11)
Games Watched: vs. Pittsburgh (2020), vs. North Carolina (2021), vs. Middle Tennessee (2021), vs. Notre Dame (2021)
Games Played: 43
Yards (YPC): 2292 (17.1 per catch)
Yards (YPC): 456 (8.3 per carry)
Total Touchdowns (rushing/receiving): 18 (14 receiving, 4 rushing)
Games Played: 10
Yards (YPC): 675 (16.9 per catch)
Yards (YPC): 64 (5.3 per carry)
Total Touchdowns: 3 (3 receiving, 0 rushing)
Best: Athleticism, yards after catch, versatility, blocking
Worst: Concentration, play strength
Projection: A 3rd or 4th receiver with position versatility in a spread offense
(Turner is WR number 11)
Virginia Tech’s Tre Turner is an athletic, and versatile wide receiver prospect with intriguing upside in the right system.
Turner played a variety of roles in Virginia Tech’s offense, working out of the X, Flanker, and Slot alignments, as well as playing out of the backfield. He played a traditional downfield receiver role, was a ball carrier on jet sweeps, and saw considerable work as a blocker in the Hokies’ diverse rushing attack.
He is a great athlete with very good quickness, agility, and long speed.
Turner is best against off and zone coverage, using his burst off the line of scrimmage to stress cornerbacks vertically while using his short-area quickness and agility to cut sharply and find voids in coverage. He flashes the ability to locate the ball in the air, extend to expand his catch radius, and be a “hands” catcher.
Turner is legitimately dynamic with the ball in his hands and is a threat to create a big play on jet sweeps, screens, or if the quarterback is able to get the ball to him in-stride down the field. He racks up yards after the catch with surprising contact balance and vision to find creases and pick his way through traffic, as well as great agility to make defenders miss. Turner is a long-strider in the open field and is able to eat up yards in a hurry.
He was, for the most part, used as a perimeter blocker in the Virginia Tech offense, and has upside there at the NFL level. He is willing to take on contact and shows solid technique when taking on corners and safeties down the field. He will need to get stronger to match up with bigger corners and safeties at the NFL level, but blocking should be considered a strength coming into the League.
He has many of the tools to be effective against press-man coverage, but needs to add some mass and play strength to best physical cornerbacks. He is also a relatively raw route runner who doesn’t have a particularly diverse route tree.
Turner can also be prone to some mental mistakes. He has, at times, had miscommunications with his quarterback and was guilty of a false start against Notre Dame. Likewise, he can also have some concentration drops, letting the ball slip through his hands. That did seem to improve over his time at Virginia Tech, and hopefully will continue to do so with NFL coaching and better, and more consistent, quarterback play.
Overall Grade: 6.9
Tre Turner projects best as a 3rd or 4th receiver in a spread offense, though he has the potential to push higher on the depth chart with continued development.
Turner has an intriguing skillset with length, speed, quickness and agility, and he can be a big-play threat with the ball in his hands. Considering how much of the modern NFL is based on yards after the catch, that is sure to catch the eye of NFL evaluators. Teams will want to scheme ways to get him the ball at first, and his upside as a ball carrier on jet sweeps (and similar concepts) and screens offer easy ways to get him on the field.
Turner was something of an afterthought in Virginia Tech’s offense, which featured a run-first mentality and inconsistent (at best) quarterback play. That said, Turner flashed enough to think he has untapped upside as an every-down receiver in a more advanced offense with better quarterback play. If he wants to tap into that upside, he will need to hone his craft as a wide receiver and both become a more refined route runner and catcher of the football.
While much of the conversation around receiver play revolves around the passing game (and deservedly so), Turner’s ability as a blocker will likely catch coaches eyes. He could stand out to any team that features a perimeter run game and his blocking could be another way of justifying his presence on the field while he develops as a receiver.