Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: A surprise selection at No. 1

D.J. Turner
D.J. Turner / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers
D.J. Turner / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers draft D.J. Turner

  • Cornerback | Michigan Wolverines
  • Round No. 2 (Pick No. 39)

Throughout the last several weeks, I dove deep into the cornerback class. I can say with confidence that the Carolina Panthers could find a future starter on the boundary and, or, at nickel on Day 2 of the draft.

It's a cornerback group that features different styles of play at the position. One of my favorite players in this class is Michigan's D.J. Turner, someone I could see as a long-term starter at the nickel or opposite Jaycee Horn.

Turner is a terrific athlete. He tested very well at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 4.26-second 40-yard dash, 38.5-inch vertical jump, and 10-foot, 11-inch broad jump, showcasing his incredible explosiveness, fluidity, and quick feet.

The former four-star high school recruit does a lot of things well. He has the hips and quickness to be a great man cover corner and the speed to run with faster receivers on vertical planes. Turner also offers good zone awareness and knows how much depth he needs to get in his drops.

I appreciate Turner's aggressiveness at the catch point and his willingness as a tackler. His lack of length might come as a concern when it comes to fitting the run, but he is a very willing and steady tackler in the open field.

If there is a corner I would love to see Carolina take in this draft, it is Turner, who could be Donte Jackson's replacement down the road.