The Kansas City Chiefs need a complementary run stuffer who can offer something on passing downs to pair with Chris Jones. They brought back defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi and signed Byron Cowart via free agency, but they also lost Khalen Saunders to the New Orleans Saints.
The bottom line is that there are still snaps to be accounted for at defensive tackle, and aside from Jones, it might be the weakest position group on the team. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the Chiefs because there are a good number of players who could be taken in the middle rounds of this draft that could come in and help the Chiefs right away.
One of these guys is Wake Forest defensive tackle Kobie Turner.
Coming out of Centerville High School in 2017, Turner was a 230-pound tight end/edge rusher who did not receive a single offer from a Division I school — this was partially because Turner’s time was split between pursuing his two different passions in life, music and football. In high school, Turner ran three acapella groups and participated in choir.
“There was a time when I didn’t know whether it [was] football [or] music,” he said. “[It] was part of the reason I didn’t get recruited as much. My junior year, I ended up going on a lot of college visits trying for music scholarships. I went to college, actually, for choir instead of going for football.”
Eventually, Turner pursued his music degree at the University of Richmond and walked on for the Spiders in football. His background in music is where his nickname, “The Conductor,” comes from. While at Richmond, Turner gained 60 pounds and became a three-time all-conference selection in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Turner says that the daily dedication to music is a mindset that helps him in football—
“Also the habitualness of music,” Turner continued. “The more you play, the more you practice, the better you get. The better you start to see things and find different patterns. Very similar to watching film and seeing different things in practice runs. It all ties together at the very foundation of music and football.”
Upon completion of the 2021 season, Turner entered the transfer portal and made the move to Wake Forest, where he proceeded to have a breakout season for the Demon Deacons. In 2022, Pro Football Focus had Turner listed as their fourth highest-graded defensive tackle in all of college football, with a grade of 92.2, including a run defense grade of 93.1.
Turner’s strength can sneak up on you if you’re not careful. While he is not an overly imposing figure, his lower body strength and strong hands can get you into trouble if you’re not careful, as we see below.
Kobie Turner gets his right shoulder across the Mizzou center - disallowing access to his chest while staying low - before getting skinny through the A-Gap and turning into the pocket for a sack— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) March 31, 2023
I should have an eval on the Wake Forest DL soon on Giants Country @Patricia_Traina pic.twitter.com/w2qfZhDcLJ
Turner uses his left hand to jab the Mizzou center’s left shoulder to initiate the response of turning his left shoulder toward him. At this point, Turner has the window he needs to get his right shoulder across the center’s torso to gain leverage through the A-Gap, doing a nice job of keeping his balance into the pocket to complete the sack.
Wake Forest DL Kobie Turner on this play:— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) March 30, 2023
- Recognized the block
- Kept a low hat, chest clean
- Presented himself in the gap
- Shed the block
- Made the TFL pic.twitter.com/YFFjeng7Zh
In this next play, we see the plus run defending mentioned earlier in the article.
Turner is lined up on the outside over the tackle; the offense attempts to catch him off guard by pulling the center over to block him. Turner does an excellent job of recognizing this. He keeps the center off his chest and fills the gap so that he can shed the block and make the play when the moment comes.
Kobie Turner (DT 0)— Draft Guy Jared (@DraftGuyJared) January 28, 2023
Put him on my team now pic.twitter.com/Nt7oDKMD7L
Once again, Turner stays low and uses his lower body strength to stay under the guard’s pad level, using his legs to drive and work around him and finish the play, making the tackle for a loss.
How he fits with the Chiefs
While size may be a concern for some teams, I don’t think it will be for the Chiefs, who have shown a willingness to roll the dice on undersized defensive tackles like Tershawn Wharton in the past. A guy like Turner has enough explosive power and athleticism to complement Chris Jones, especially if Jones is eating up double teams on the inside, and all Turner has to do is worry about beating the man in front of him.
I could see Turner coming into Kansas City and contributing right away.
The bottom line
These players from Wake Forest seem to be another breed between the ears, and when you mix that with the fact that Turner is actually really good at playing football, it’s hard not to want the Chiefs to make a move to get him.
Most big boards have Turner outside the top 100, which is the suitable range for him. I would consider taking him with either of the Chiefs’ fourth-round picks.