Oh Billy, Billy Boy
Published: Thursday, January 23, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 19:01
We’ve seen him start 57 games for our beloved Bison, we’ve seen him eat up opposing defensive ends and we’ve seen him #TurnUp. Now, America is seeing everything Fargo and the entire FCS has witnessed for almost a half-decade, watching Billy Turner dominate.
It’s no surprise Turner was a man amongst boys at the FCS level and now he is getting his shot to show the world what he can do against the best NFL prospects in college football.
The beauty of the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., is the week-long process of evaluation and the discovery of diamonds that are stuck behind the media publicity of the college football season, and bringing them out of the rough. Essentially, it’s an extended NFL Combine that lines up the best seniors in the country against one another to see who the elite NFL prospects are.
Russell Wilson, Mike Glennon, Von Miller and yes, even Richard Sherman were all nobodies before they stepped foot onto the turf at the Senior Bowl. Every year, players capture the hearts of general managers and scouts and this year will be the exact same.
Luckily for us, right before our eyes, we are seeing one of our own become the apple of many general managers’ eyes.
After one day of practice, former Bison offensive tackle Turner is turning heads of the most respected prospect evaluators.
CBSSports.com writer Rob Rang writes:
“As impressive as (Ju’Wuan) James was, arguably the most impressive offensive lineman of the day was North Dakota State’s Billy Turner, who possesses a very similar build at 6-foot-5, 316 pounds. Unlike James, Turner struggles a bit with leverage, bending at the waist rather than the knees but he has strong hands and is a good athlete who projects as a quality NFL starter with a little refinement. His upside could push Turner into the top 100 picks, if he isn’t there already.”
CBSSports.com ranked Turner exactly 100 on the list of prospects on Monday, a day after Bleacher Report’s Dan Hope had Turner going 19th in the first round to the Miami Dolphins.
The hype has shifted in Turner’s advantage and just as Sherman screamed at Erin Andrews that he was the best, Turner needs to keep reminding scouts that he deserves serious consideration for a first-round pick. “LOB!”
Sifting through the draft needs of all 32 teams and it’s conceivable to see 15 teams draft an offensive lineman within the first two rounds. Right now, Turner is the 17th ranked offensive lineman, but you never know, linemen rankings tend to fluctuate the closer the draft gets.
Last year, Eric Fisher was ranked much higher than Turner before the Senior Bowl, but Fisher still skyrocketed to the second overall prospect in the draft and taken first. Now, I’m neglecting my homer-ism when I say it’s unlikely Turner shoots up past the likes of Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews or Auburn’s Greg Robinson into the top 10 of the draft.
As far as Bison football players go, NDSU would be fine with a late-round draft pick. Since 1968, there have only been three Bison football players drafted as high as the second round. Steve Nelson was drafted 34th overall by the Patriots in 1974, Stacy Robinson 46th by the Giants in 1985 and hall of famer Phil Hansen was drafted 54th by the Bills in 1991.
Turner may have a shot at history and sneak into the first round, but for now we will wait patiently just like Turner did for his time in the limelight.