After Cuts, Paul Turner Goes From Long-Shot to Favorite
If you had Paul Turner making the Eagles roster when training camp opened a few weeks ago - consider yourself one step closer to a win.
The 5-foot-10, 193-pound Turner has caught the eyes of Eagles coaches and is one step closer to making the final roster after the team released veterans Ruben Randle and Chris Givens on Sunday. With that pair out of the picture, things are looking much brighter for the undrafted rookie, who has been the talk of camp for doing something both Randle and Givens struggled to do - catch the ball.
"Paul is a good route runner; he's got good feet, he's got good hands," Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich explained. "I think that's really a big part of playing consistently, right? The quarterback has to know where you're going to be. Quarterbacks want to have the confidence to know that we're going to make the play when we come to him. Paul has done a pretty nice job."
The Eagles are likely to keep five wide receivers Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Dorail Green-Beckham and Josh Huff appear to be in good shape, leaving Turner and a couple of long-shots like Cayleb Jones and David Watford to battle it out for a spot on the 53-man roster. And out of those two, it is Turner, who in three games has 11 catches for 99 yards this preseason, who has stood out the most.
"Paul Turner has really kind of caught our eye here the last couple of weeks and is doing a nice job there," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson admitted during camp.
After transferring from LSU to Louisiana Tech, he went undrafted, finishing his college career with 87 catches and seven touchdowns in two seasons. And while he has caught the football throughout camp, it was his outstanding one-handed, 23-yard catch against the Steelers, setting up a touchdown, that put him on the Eagles radar.
"Like I said earlier, he’s caught our attention," Pederson admitted.
At this stage it looks like the worst case scenario for Turner is he starts the year on the Eagles practice squad. However, taking a closer look at the Eagles roster, unless they go outside of the organization, he has to be the favorite to land a spot.
"You know what? He has been as consistent as you can be at that position," Reich stated. "I mean, he’s been impressive. He’s tough. You can just tell he’s a mentally and physically tough guy. He competes very hard; he’s an instinctive route runner; he has really good feet. As we coaches say, ‘He can put his foot on the ground and stop on a dime.’ So, he’s done a nice job."
He has one game left to prove he belongs, but right now the long-shot is starting to look like a favorite.