OL Billy Turner eyeing NFL, switch to guard

INDIANAPOLIS – Offensive lineman Billy Turner, who played offensive tackle at North Dakota State, has caught the attention of NFL teams.

Speaking to group of reporters Thursday, Turner said he’s been making the interview rounds with clubs since arriving at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Feb 20, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; North Dakota State OL William Turner speaks to the media during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 20, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; North Dakota State OL William Turner speaks to the media during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

“We did our little interview thing last night, from team- to-team,” Turner said. “I talked to the Packers last night.”

What about the Chiefs, who reportedly talked to Turner at the Senior Bowl?

“Yep,” Turner said. “I talked to the Chiefs as well yesterday.”

Turner is an intriguing prospect out of an FCS school, especially when considering the uncertainty surrounding the Chiefs offensive line.

Left tackle Branden Albert and guards Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents on March 11.

Their potential departures would leave gaping holes to fill leading to the draft if the Chiefs don’t bring back at least one of them.

Meanwhile, Turner, whose official measurement at the Combine was 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, is a versatile player despite playing tackle throughout his college career.

He can move inside and that versatility is apparently enticing teams to give him a look during the draft evaluation process.

For his part, Turner said where he plays depends on the scheme of the team that ultimately selects him.

Still, there’s a position he prefers.

“I always wanted the chance to play guard, just because I’m a physical guy,” Turner said. “I’m a physical run blocker, so I always wanted to get inside, get a little closer to that defender and just try to run some people over a little more than you can at the tackle position.”

Turner is currently projected as a second- or third-round pick by CBSSports.com and NFLDraftScout.com.

And senior draft analyst Rob Rang used a single description as to why he’s high on Turner.

“In a word, athleticism,” Rang said at the Scouting Combine. “He’s a player that shows the athletic ability that you’re looking for in a small school environment to be able to project well to the NFL.”

Rang said Turner experienced some struggles during Senior Bowl practices at the tackle position against speed rushers.

However, Rang pointed out Turner shined when moved inside.

“When they moved him inside to guard, that’s where he showed that physicality,” Rang said. “He showed some nastiness and it’s exciting.”

Rang said most prospects from small schools can usually get away with just their athletic ability alone and dominate the competition. But what grabbed Rang’s attention of Turner was how the draft prospect competed at the Senior Bowl despite his small school roots.

“He showed the grit and the determination that you really want,” Rang said. “That’s the work ethic, the aggression I’m looking for to be able to handle the huge jump from that level to the NFL.”

In the meantime, Turner is preparing himself for what appears to be an inevitable move from the outside to the inside based on what he’s been told by scouts and teams.

“A lot of guys I’ve been talking to have said they want to see me at guard,” he said. “I’ll most likely be a guard at the next level, so I guess we’ll see what happens.”

Regardless what occurs with whatever team selects him, Turner is also preparing to achieve the NFL dream.

“After progressing from year to year, that dream in my hand became more of a reality to me,” Turner said. “When I got invited to the Senior Bowl and Combine, I knew it was right there. I just had to reach out and grab it.”

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