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2023 NFL Draft Profile: Jamal Turner, TE, Toledo

Jamal Turner more than doubled his career receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns in a stellar 2022 campaign. Now, he looks to leverage that success into the NFL Draft.

NCAA Football: Boca Raton Bowl-Liberty at Toledo Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Jamal Turner was one of several Toledo Rockets to enjoy two MAC championship runs over the course of his college career. The long-tenured tight end first arrived on campus as a redshirt in 2017 when Toledo claimed the MAC throne, and he capped his college career with a second conference championship and the program’s first bowl win since 2015.

Turner was a seldom utilized tight end for the majority of his time at Toledo, but his production instantly skyrocketed in his sixth-year with the program. After corralling a total of 17 receptions for 199 yards and one touchdown from 2018 to 2021, Turner more than doubled those statistics in his final campaign. He snagged 29 receptions for 378 yards and eight touchdowns last fall — ranking second on the team in touchdowns and fourth in the other aforementioned categories.

Toledo often turned to Turner in red zone and short yardage situations. He logged touchdowns in five consecutive games — a stretch which jolted Toledo’s offense after a stagnant start.

While Turner didn’t land on any of the All-MAC teams in his breakthrough season, he earned an invite to the Hula Bowl in Orlando to showcase his skills. He caught one pass for no gain from East Carolina quarterback Holton Ahlers in the exhibition. Turner also exhibited his speed and strength at Toledo’s pro day on March 21.

He measured at roughly 6’5” and 244 pounds, and his strength was his best attribute on display with 20 bench press reps of 225 pounds. Kent Lee Platte is the creator of an often-utilized NFL Draft metric known as Relative Athletic Score (RAS), and Turner scored a 2.62 based on his grades compared to other tight ends.

Kent Lee Platte |

Toledo has infiltrated NFL Draft day quite often in recent times with eight selections since 2017. Turner hopes to become the first Rocket tight end drafted since Michael Roberts in the seventh round of 2017.

Earlier in his college career, blocking was Turner’s calling card. Turner served as an auxiliary piece on a stellar offensive line which paved the way for three top 30 rushing offenses from 2018 to 2021. He first cracked a full-time starting role in the 2020 pandemic season. And as Toledo became a more passing oriented offense in 2022 following the departure of star halfback Bryant Koback, Turner gained more exposure to route running. This facet probably needs more refinement than any other area of his game, but there’s still plenty to like from the former high school basketball star.

He blocks with impressive power and drive in the run game and demonstrates the ability to sustain blocks for significant periods of time, especially in the run game. Although his 40-yard dash time recorded at pro day wasn’t his ideal result, he still possesses remarkable speed from the time of the snap to the initiation of blocks.

As a receiver, he doesn’t run the most rigid routes, but he exhibits quality body control with the ball in his hands. He’s quite reliable as a receiver with few drops in his time at Toledo. Turner possesses an ideal frame, similar to some of the NFL’s premier tight ends such as Travis Kelce and George Kittle. With a desirable blend of speed and strength, Turner could be sought after as a sixth or seventh round pick, and if not, a priority undrafted free agent.