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Houston EDGE Payton Turner can do things Steve Spagnuolo loves to see

29 Days of Draftmas continues with a third-round prospect.

Houston v Tulane Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

A very Merry Draftmas to you!

We continue our tradition of profiling an NFL Draft prospect every day in April, leading up to the NFL Draft on April 29th. Every day, you’ll get a prospect profile that includes how they would fit with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 2021 KC Draft Guide was released on Monday, so we decided to celebrate with a full write-up from the this year’s edition. Here’s one of my favorite EDGE prospects in this class:


Payton Turner, EDGE

Rice v Houston Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

6’5” | 270 lbs | Houston

Houston, TX

Grade (round): Third

Stats: 5.0 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, 25 tackles, 1 forced fumble

Background: Participated in the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl. Former two-star recruit who was lightly recruited; Houston and Army were his only two FBS offers. Likely missed opportunities due to a knee injury that forced him to miss the majority of his final year of high school. Played in 11 games as a true freshman, recording an interception. Started 11 games before suffering a season-ending foot injury as a sophomore. Started all 12 games as a junior. As a senior, missed time between a hand injury and contracting COVID-19, limiting him to only five games — but was still named second team All-AAC.

Strengths: Turner is a long, dense and well-built defensive end. He gives outstanding effort at all times; on a play-by-play basis, no one in this class outworks him. A high-motor, high-energy player, he chases down plays; there are some remarkable stretches where he does so on back-to-back snaps. He shows a lot of versatility — with some ability to kick inside. Turner has shown a developed pass rush plan and the tools to improve it; he has an idea of what to do and builds on it throughout the game. His rushing game is built around being a power player who wants to work into the chest of offensive linemen — and has been able to do it with consistent success. For a man his size, Turner has surprising change-of-direction ability. He possesses good instincts and is often in the right position. Turner has accumulated some ball production by reading the quarterback and getting in passing lanes; he’s defended nine passes in his career.

Weaknesses: Turner has a very average first step and isn’t a particularly explosive player. Far too often, he struggles to run the arc and has questionable burst and quickness to effectively threaten the corner. He has average fluidity through his hips to turn a corner. His hand technique needs improvement — and there are some questions about power in his upper body. As a high-cut player, there are some natural leverage concerns that show up; contributing to that worry is how quickly he pops upright out of his stance.

How he fits with the Chiefs: Turner makes a lot of sense as a Day 2 prospect who can do a lot of the things Steve Spagnuolo loves to do in his defensive scheme. He’s a versatile player with inside-outside rushing ability — and a motor that always runs hot. There’s a lot to like about not only with his present game, but in how he could develop. He should be able to execute the twists and stunts of the Chiefs’ defense at a high level — and will earn effort sacks when he doesn’t win off the line of scrimmage.

Player Comp: Deatrich Wise

Fit Likelihood: High


KC Draft Guide

The 2021 edition of the KC Draft Guide is now available!

The Draft Guide provides a one-stop shop that shows how the top college prospects fit with your Kansas City Chiefs. This digital download includes detailed analysis and profiles for hundreds of prospects, player comps, scheme-fit analysis, a Chiefs draft pick trade chart, features, a mock draft and more!