Looking at the title, you might be thinking to yourself, who is Paul Turner? For those who didn’t watch the Philadelphia Eagles second preseason game against the Steelers last week, he’s the wide receiver who actually catches the football. As an un-drafted rookie, why on earth should this young, unknown receiver named Paul Turner make the Eagles final 53-man roster?
The Case for Why Paul Turner Should Make the Eagles Roster
It’s important to stress the obvious here, that the most important aspect for all NFL wide receivers to perform in is catching the football. It is directly in your job description. Yet for some reason, the Eagles receivers on the roster have been plagued with drops all over the place. Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff, and Jordan Matthews have all had their fair share of drops. Part of the problem last season wasn’t even Sam Bradford‘s fault. His receivers were simply dropping his passes.
A major positive to Turner is that he has not dropped one ball thrown at him thus far this preseason. This is especially fantastic considering that he’s been forced to play with second string players. He’s caught passes from both Chase Daniel and Carson Wentz so far. One play that solidifies his talent for catching the ball is his one-handed grab over a Steelers defender, while falling backwards…might as call him Paul “Odell” Turner Jr!
You can see it when he is on the field. Turner has good football knowledge. One play in the preseason opener, he was lined up in the slot with Wentz under center. He recognizes that the linebacker covering him drops down into the box showing a blitz. Turner points him out to Wentz calling for an audible. Wentz then changes the play and snaps the ball. He was right. All-out-blitz on the young rookie quarterback. Paul Turner runs a quick slant route, and Wentz throws him the ball, in which he caught and got a first down. Phew, what an awesome play!
While the casual football fan won’t see the intricacies of the play, the truth is that there is an intense mental game being played at the line of scrimmage at the beginning of every play. Without the recognition of the blitz by Turner, it may have gone unnoticed to either Wentz or the center. In turn, Wentz would have probably gotten sacked for a major loss and ending the drive. While the preseason is seen as pointless in many eyes, these are the kinds of things that coaches look for in young players, like Paul Turner.
Lack of Wide Receiver Depth
This season, the Eagles are struggling at the wide receiver position. While the addition of Dorial Green-Beckham is exciting, it still doesn’t end their struggles at the position. The Eagles desperately need the guy to be a consistent pair of hands outside of the hashes. Paul Turner has shown that he is consistent, can run routes, and has “football knowledge.”
The un-drafted rookie, Paul Turner, out of Louisiana Tech is the dark horse candidate to the make the final 53-man roster at the end of the preseason. Everyone loves to see an underdog guy like Turner prove himself in the preseason and possibly make the team. For the Eagles, this is a guy that you cannot afford to let walk. He is mildly talented, consistent, hard-working, and smart. What else do you need in an NFL wide receiver?