When the Eagles training camp started, I didn’t even notice the little short rookie free agent wide receiver wearing number 80. Paul Turner was an after thought to Birds fans and nearly all the people that cover them. Now after weeks and weeks of training camp, Turner’s name is starting to come up more and more from people who follow and cover the team.
The young man has earned this recognition the old fashioned way. He came to Philly, as a free agent with little chance of making the team, but throughout this summer’s training camp, he has made plays day after day. Regardless of whether he has been lining up with the first team, second team, third team, fourth team or whatever, he has gotten open and caught the football. While the rest of the wide receiver group has struggled to hang onto the ball, Turner has come down with it, despite giving away inches and pounds to the guys covering him.
He’s shown toughness by being able to catch the football in a crowd, take a hit and still hang onto it.
His performance on Thursday night in Pittsburgh was just an example of what we’ve been seeing in practice for nearly a month. The little guy makes plays, which is what the rest of the wide receivers haven’t been doing. The one-handed catch he made against Pittsburgh was nothing but a continuation of what we’ve been seeing throughout camp.
It’s obvious that he’s short at 5’10’, which is considered a disadvantage, but when you put a short, quick wide out like Turner in the slot on third down, it’s torture for the defensive backs trying to cover him. I think this young man was made for the slot position and he’s going to play somewhere in the NFL. The question is, will it be here in Philly or elsewhere.
I hope the Eagles don’t make the mistake of letting him walk because I could see the Patriots picking him up and putting him in the slot as a third down target for Tom Brady. The strongest part of his route running is his ability to change directions. Making sharp cuts is a vital ability in the slot and Turner has mastered the art.
I could see the young man coming in handy as a third down target in the slot for Sam Bradford this year and eventually Carson Wentz.