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Eric Peterson, Published January 23 2014

Buzz builds for NDSU's Turner

Fargo - Former North Dakota State offensive tackle Billy Turner has been generating buzz with his play during Senior Bowl practice this week in Mobile, Ala.

A number of national draft analysts from around the country have had both good and bad things to say about Turner, who was a four-year starter for the Bison.

Turner helped NDSU win three consecutive FCS national titles, anchoring the offensive line.

“If Turner can learn to consistently sink his hips and not bend so much at the waist, I truly believe there are several Pro Bowls in his future,” wrote Dane Brugler, a senior draft analyst for CBS Sports and NFLDraftScout.com.

Turner is playing for the South team in the Senior Bowl, which is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday and will be aired on the NFL Network.

Turner drew interest heading into this week of practices for the Senior Bowl. Chris Burke, who writes for SI.com, listed Turner as one of his prospects to watch.

“Another small-school guy, Turner probably could have started at tackle for just about every FBS team this year,” Burke wrote in a story that was posted on Monday, the first day of Senior Bowl practice.

Justin Higdon, who is a staff writer for DraftBrowns.com, noted that Turner didn’t fare well on Day 2 of practice.

“He struggled repeatedly with speed rushers, and his issues continued in team drills,” Higdon wrote. “After watching him get smoked at left and right tackle today, it’s easy to see why some teams are curious about Turner’s ability to play guard.”

Bryan Broaddus, an analyst/scout who writes for dallascowboys.com, was intrigued Turner before Broaddus left Mobile.

“The player that I am most looking forward to studying when I arrived back in Dallas is North Dakota State offensive tackle Billy Turner,” Broaddus wrote. “I believe I would play him at right tackle and let him go to work from that position. The jump in competition did not look too much for him, and his play was consistent throughout.”

Broaddus also noted that Turner, at times, had trouble with the speed of some rushers. Broaddus, however, added Turner seemed to handle that speed better as the week progressed.

“I think the quickness and speed of these defensive ends and linebackers surprised him a bit,” Broaddus wrote. “The more reps he took, the better he played.”

Brugler said that he thinks Turner is on the cusp of being a second-round or third-round selection in the NFL draft.

“Scouts really like him,” Brugler said, “and this isn’t a strong offensive line class, so he should be on several teams’ radar in the top-60 picks.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com