GREEN BAY - By hiring new coach Matt LaFleur, the Green Bay Packers shifted their offensive philosophy, especially on the ground with the implementation of an agile, outside-zone running game. Big – but athletic – offensive linemen are necessary.
The Packers proved that Tuesday as PackersNews.com learned the club agreed to a four-year deal with Billy Turner, a 6-foot, 5-inch, 310-pound free agent who played guard and tackle for the Denver Broncos.
Turner, 27, was originally selected by the Miami Dolphins in the third round of the 2014 NFL draft out of North Dakota State. He emerged as a starter at right guard in 2015 but was released by the Dolphins after just five games in the 2016 season. Claimed by Denver that year, he missed most of 2017 with a broken hand. He eventually worked his way back into a starting role last year for the Broncos due to injury, first at right tackle and then at left guard.
Coming out of North Dakota State, Turner showed the athleticism that made him an intriguing prospect. He ran a 5.16-second 40-yard dash and 7.92-second three-cone drill.
The analytics service Pro Football Focus graded Turner as an “average” guard in 2018, with a rating of 62.8. He was the No. 33 rated guard in the NFL last season per PFF. By comparison, Justin McCray was graded as the No. 23 guard (64.6) and free agent Byron Bell was graded as the No. 70 overall guard (47.4). McCray and Bell were the two players who primarily manned the right guard spot in 2018 for the Packers.
Turner figures to compete against Jason Spriggs and others for playing time at guard and right tackle.