One of the Denver Broncos’ moves in the offseason was to bring back a familiar face. Billy Turner spent some time with the Broncos not too long ago and then moved on to greener pastures, literally, by signing with the Green Bay Packers.
Now Turner is back with the Broncos under some of the coaching staff he had with the Packers. He’s in play to start at the right time, but could start at multiple positions.
With Turner back in a Broncos uniform, what are his expectations for 2022? Let’s dive into his resume.
Turner will turn 31 in October. He was born and raised in Minnesota before going to North Dakota for college.
During his four years at North Dakota State, Turner started 56 games, with at least 11 each season. He started all 15 games at left tackle his senior year, allowed zero sacks and helped the team go 15-0.
Out of his freshman year, the team went 43-2 and won three straight FCS championships. In that first year, NDSU went 9-5 and reached the FCS quarterfinals, even though no one expected them to make the playoffs.
As Turner prepared for the 2014 NFL Draft, he was a two-time FCS All-American and rated as one of the top small-school prospects in the draft. He was also considered one of the top tackle prospects overall.
What happens next for the Broncos? Don’t miss any news and analysis! Please take a second, sign for our free newsletter and get breaking Broncos news delivered to your inbox every day!
Turner began his journey to the NFL with an invitation to the Senior Bowl in 2014. He was then invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, where he tested out decently well. He had a relative athletic score of 7.18 as an offensive tackle, while 8.06 as a guard.
Turner eventually heard his name called with the 67th pick in the draft (third round) by the Miami Dolphins.
Turner played just 17 snaps on offense as a rookie, but started 12 games in 2016, playing 771 snaps, all at right guard. He allowed 25 pressures, eight of which were sacks. It was an extremely tough season as his run blocking grade was 48.8 out of Professional football focus to go along with the eight sacks he gave up in pass defense.
Turner was in hot water entering Year 3, and after stepping in with an injury and starting two games (97 total snaps), the Dolphins waived him. On those 97 snaps, he allowed 13 pressures and five sacks while starting at left guard and left tackle, with seven tackles at right tackle.
In his 35 games with the Dolphins, he played four of the five O-line spots and started games at three. It wasn’t easy settling into one position when you weren’t allowed to. So the Dolphins released him and the Broncos took him without waivers.
To finish the 2016 season with the Broncos, Turner saw action in three games, all at right guard. He played a total of 41 snaps in those three games, allowed no pressures or sacks and generally played well.
In 2017, Turner sat out the injury for one game, playing 46 snaps at right tackle against the New York Giants in Week 6. He allowed a sack with four total pressures.
Scroll to Continue
Things weren’t looking good for Turner entering the 2018 season. He has played 972 games with two teams over his first four seasons, allowing a total of 42 pressures and 13 sacks. His play needed to improve as he was consistently among the worst offensive players during that span.
2018 was the biggest and best year of Turner’s career so far, which came at a good time as it was a contract year. He played 824 snaps on offense for the Broncos while appearing in 15 games, starting 11 of them, split between right tackle and left guard. Six of his snaps also came as a sixth lineman in jumbo packages, five of which were all of his snaps in two games.
Of his 11 starts, four came in right-handed swing, and Turner totaled 370 at-bats. During that span, he allowed 11 pressures and three sacks. While playing 448 snaps at left guard, starting seven games, he allowed 16 pressures with zero sacks.
Overall it was a solid year as PFF graded Turner 64.4 overall and 65.0 in pass protection, but 59.2 in run blocking. While his play wasn’t great, his versatility continued to be his biggest asset and saw him get a nice deal from the Packers.
Turner was with the Packers the past three seasons, playing 3,096 snaps, mostly at right guard or tackle, but saw some snaps at left tackle. It was the best three years of his career, which was average compared to the rest of the NFL.
During that time, Turner allowed 116 pressures and 13 sacks and made it clear that the pressure will always be there with Turner as he has consistently had a high percentage. His run blocking grades have been between 60-65 each year, and his overall grade even topped 70 (70.5) for the first time in his career in 2020.
In Turner’s final season, in which he played all but 56 of his 866 snaps at right tackle, he was average compared to the rest of the NFL. He was 19th-most (from 44 tackles) in pressures allowed with at least 500 pass blocks, had the 14th-lowest pass-blocking efficiency and 17th-lowest in PFF passing blocking assessment.
As for Turner’s run blocking, among the 47 tackles with at least 300 blocking snaps, he was 11th-lowest overall, 10th-lowest in zone concepts and 17th in gap concepts.
Forecast for 2022
When Turner was re-signed last spring, many Broncos fans and analysts concluded that Turner was the answer given the right approach, even though his play had been consistently poor. His versatility and familiarity help him, but at this point he is who he is as a player, and that’s average at best.
When you look at Turner compared to the rest of the NFL, he’s in the middle of the pack, if not the bottom half. That could make things challenging for Russell Wilson’s defense and raises questions about Denver’s lack of answers at the right tackle position.
Denver has three players vying for the starting job, all of whom have serious concerns. Tom Compton is an excellent blocker but has issues in pass protection, while Calvin Anderson is unknown.
Then there’s Turner, who will allow pressure and have his fair share of problems. He’s probably the most well-rounded of the three, but the unknown of Anderson is still there.
The fact that Turner is the most well-rounded right now is why many consider him the favorite to win the starting right fielder position. However, if he doesn’t, he could make a play for a starting job at one of the guard spots, more likely left guard, with Dalton Risner’s status up in the air.
Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel.
Follow the Mile High Huddle Twitter and Facebook.
Subscribe to the Mile High Huddle on YouTube for daily live Broncos podcasts!