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Cowboys 2023 draft scouting report: Wake Forest defensive lineman Kobie Turner

Kobie Turner is destined to be a draft steal for an NFL team.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 23 Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl Photo by Chris Leduc/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A continuing series of scouting reports for potential Cowboys draft picks.

Name: Kobie Turner
Position: iDL
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 290 pounds

Kobie Turner Career Stats, courtesy of Sports Reference

Combine Results: Not invited

Kobie Turner is flying very under the radar in this draft process, and it’s not immediately apparent why. Based just on Turner’s 2022 season, he should be a Top 50 prospect easily. But most mock drafts have Turner as a fifth-round pick, with a max ceiling as a late-fourth-rounder.

Turner played both offensive and defensive line in high school in Virginia, and he was a zero star recruit coming out. He got an offer to play for FCS school Richmond, and he earned All-Conference honors all three years there. That was enough for Turner to get an offer to transfer to Wake Forest, now rated as a three-star transfer prospect.

Turner played just one year for the Demon Deacons, and that limited sample size seems to be the only thing holding him back at the moment. But Turner was a dominant run stopper all year and was sneaky good as a pass rusher too. In fact, he posted the second highest Pro Football Focus grade of any Power 5 defender in 2022, behind only Georgia’s Jalen Carter. Even after that, though, Turner did not receive an invitation to the combine. That’s a shame, because his talent is evident in watching his tape.

Burst: Turner has decent burst for his size and frame. He doesn’t quite explode off the line, but he’s also never late getting out of his stance. Had Turner been at the combine, his explosion drill numbers likely would’ve ranked around the average, which is more than enough for how Wake Forest used him.

Footwork: He is a natural with his feet, and there’s a level of meticulousness with how he moves. He does a great job of winning leverage against blockers and then dropping an anchor to maintain it, especially when two-gapping.

Hand Technique: He has big and powerful hands, and managed to land some blows against really talented offensive linemen that stunned them backwards. Turner is also very active with his hands, most evident when two-gapping, as he’s able to lock up his opponent while reading the backfield.

Pass Rush Moves: Turner is a power rusher first and foremost, and as such his bull rush is the most frequent tool he goes to. He has shown the ability to use a few other moves as well, but he’s so effective with his bull rush that he rarely has to use anything else. Turner’s 34 pressures rank sixth among interior defenders in this draft class, an impressive mark for someone who’s more of a run defender than pass rusher.

Lateral Agility: He looks stiff in his hips too often, although it’s less pronounced when playing the run. Turner’s lateral agility is at its worst in the pass rush game, when he’s dictating his own pass rush plan. He’s a much more natural lateral mover when reading and reacting to the run game.

Athleticism: Turner is not an elite athlete, but he’s not bad either. He plays with good functional athleticism, and never looked out of place on film. It would have been interesting to see where he stacked up against others at the combine, but with just his 2022 tape to judge from, he appears to be sufficiently athletic.

Run Defense: Elite run defender. Turner recorded a run stop on 11.5% of his run defense snaps, second in the class only to Michigan’s Mazi Smith (11.6%). Turner’s average depth of tackle of one yard speaks to how effective he was against the run, and he forced two fumbles in run defense, more than anyone else at his position. Turner was a beauty to watch in run defense, and may just be the best interior run stopper in this entire draft. Even if he isn’t, he’s absolutely in the top five.

Processing: He plays a very heady game. He’s great at getting leverage in the trenches, and he uses that to buy time to read the backfield and react. He doesn’t have the high-end athleticism to simply flow to the ball, but Turner evens it out with top-notch processing skills to make sure he gets to the ball anyway.

Intangibles: Sample size is the big issue with Turner here. He was dominant in 2022, but it was his lone year in the FBS. He also dominated at Richmond, but it took three years of that before an FBS school offered him to transfer. Some scouts will question why that is, and how sustainable his impressive production can be. Judging off the tape alone, though, Turner figures to be a plus run defender with pass rush ability at the next level, and a potential steal in the long run.

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