2022 NFL Draft Profile: Nevada TE Cole Turner
Cole Turner is an adept pass-catching tight end who produced his share of big plays in Nevada’s offense. Can he do the same in the NFL?
Turner looks to be an impact TE in the NFL.
Cole Turner has been selected by the Washington Commanders with the 149th overall pick, in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.
— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) April 30, 2022
In the last two seasons, the Nevada Wolf Pack offense was one of the more explosive offenses in the Mountain West and one of the biggest factors in making it so was tight end Cole Turner.
Turner, who switched from wide receiver to tight end back in 2020, became one of the primary weapons in Nevada’s Air Raid attack alongside Romeo Doubs. Turner’s six-foot-six frame and athleticism made him a big target for Wolf Pack quarterback Carson Strong to throw to deep or, more famously, connect on goal line fades.
During his 2021 season, Turner caught 62 passes for 677 receiving yards while leading all Mountain West tight ends with ten touchdown receptions. For his career, he caught 111 passes for 1,286 yards and 19 total touchdowns.
Turner has shown that he can be a big target at the college level, but the question is can he be a complete tight end at the NFL level.
Measurables (taken from Mockdraftable)
Turner is a big, physical target who has good straight line speed and good body control. He also possesses great agility which can be seen when he is used as a red zone target, often in catching fade routes. Turner has a great ability to be effective when he is flexed out as a third wide receiver and can use his size and physicality to make the catch.
Turner can play not only as a detached tight end who splits out as a third wide receiver but also as an H-back and as an in-line tight end in the running game. No matter where Turner lines up, he has shown an ability to catch the ball and be a dynamic force in the passing game. Turner also possesses very good pass protection skills that can be utilized at the next level if and when he lines up as in-line tight end.
He may not have elite speed, but what he has is good enough to be a vertical option as well as a short and intermediate one. To go along with Turner’s speed, he has the capability to find the ball and adjust to the ball to make the catch. Turner also possesses a very good football IQ as he can recognize underneath coverages made by the defense and adjust his route in certain football scenarios.
While Turner is listed at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, he needs to add bulk and strength to his narrow upper and lower body. Also due to his narrow upper body, he does struggle in run blocking and playing through contact against stronger defenders. Also in terms of blocking, Turner does not use his long arms to extend and block opposing defenders.
Turner does have a shallow route tree and at the pro level, he will need to expand it in order to be used in increasingly diverse NFL offenses. Without top-end speed, it takes him a while to get going speed-wise after he starts his route, as well.
While possessing soft hands and good ball skills, Turner can be inconsistent at catching and finishing contested passes. Combine that with Turner’s problem separating from defenders, this could be an issue for him and minimize his use in a passing offense. And due to his lanky frame, Turner may not possess much value as a special teams contributor should his role in a passing game be a limited one.
Cole Turner does possess a lot of good qualities and potential to be a part of a NFL passing offense. His height, good hands, solid speed and great athleticism will have NFL teams looking at Turner as part of a multiple tight end offense and a big red zone target.
However, Turner has some serious limitations that will concern NFL teams such as a lack of top end speed. Turner also lacks the upper and lower body strength to play through contact and to separate himself from opposing defenders. While Turner does do solid work in the pass blocking game, he is a liability in the run blocking game.
Due to his poor body strength, inconsistencies catching passes in traffic and limited use in special teams, I predict Turner will hear his name being called on Day 3 of the draft and being drafted between the fifth and seventh rounds.