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What CB DJ Turner brings to the Cincinnati Bengals

Speed. Lots of speed.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Texas Christian at Michigan Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former Michigan cornerback DJ Turner appeared in 36 games for the Wolverines with 22 starts. Turner is now seeing his stock ascend leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft after an impressive performance at the combine last month.

Turner became a staple on Michigan’s revamped defense in 2021 and then fared well overall last season. Turner was named Michigan’s Most Improved Player on defense in 2021 as well as Defensive Skill Player of the Year.

— Turner played in 36 games at Michigan, including 22 starts.

— Made 33 tackles in 2021 with nine pass breakups and two interceptions.

— Had similar production in 2022 with 36 tackles, one interception, 11 pass breakups, and one fumble returned for a 45-yard touchdown.

NFL Combine Results

Height: 5-10

Weight: 178

Age: 22

40-Yard Dash: 4.26

Vertical: 38.5”

Broad Jump: 10’ 11”

10-Yard Split: 1.47


  • Elite speed. Turner ran the fastest 40-yard dash at the combine this year. His time of 4.26 is the fourth-best at the combine since 2003.
  • Can play inside and outside. Could be utilized at nickel corner against speedy NFL slot wideouts.
  • Recovery speed if the receiver gains initial separation.
  • A great tenacious teammate
  • Willing tackler in run support with good play recognition
  • Doesn’t lose in man coverage often. His speed will make him a great option for an NFL defense that leans heavily on man coverage.
  • Had a career-high 8 tackles (7 solo) against Ohio State in 2021.


  • Missed crucial tackles in the Fiesta Bowl against TCU that led to points for the Horned Frogs.
  • Will have to rely on speed more than physicality in the NFL. Doesn’t use his hands a lot and doesn’t consistently jam receivers.
  • Clean up tackling technique
  • From a physicality perspective, it’s fair to wonder if he can contribute in run support in an above-average capacity in the NFL.
  • 50-50 balls vs. tall wideouts will be a concern

Do Your Research

Check out this video breakdown of Turner by Dan Plocher

Plocher’s Point of View

DJ Turner has the makings of a Top-5 corner in the 2023 NFL Draft class. He ran the fastest 40-time at the NFL Combine at 4.26 seconds. According to PFF, he allowed only 22 receptions for 225 yards and two touchdowns in the 2021 regular season, making him one of the best cover corners in college football.


Speed kills and Turner’s draft stock increased exponentially with his eye-popping 40-time at the combine. Turner could wind up being a first or second-round selection based on that type of speed. An NFL team will take a chance on someone with that trait and try to polish whatever is rough around the edges. Turner’s jets, and his ability to play outside and inside increases his appeal even further. Sure, his physicality could be better and he can’t whiff on big tackles in the days ahead, but there’s enough to like about Turner as is and there’s always the potential he improves in the areas he needs to.