Coming out of Mounds View High School in 2010, William (Billy) Turner was an All-State lineman. He was named to the St. Paul Pioneer Press all-state, Minneapolis Star Tribune all-metro, metro all-star and all-conference first teams. He entered the season on Star Tribune and KARE 11's preseason metro squads. Besides football, he pitched and played first base for their baseball team and was actually invited to several prospect camps. Fortunately, for him and the Dolphins, he chose to pursue football instead of baseball.
At North Dakota State University, he started in 56 of the 58 games he played in his career. He was a two-time consensus All-American and was part of three straight NCAA Division 1 FCS National Championship teams.
In 2010, he started in 12 games and played in 13 and according to the team website, was one of the main reasons why North Dakota State had a 1,000 yard rusher for the eighth straight season.
In 2011, he started 14 of 15 games and was part of an offensive line that allowed Quarterback Brock Jensen to pass for 2,534 yards and 14 touchdowns. They also opened enough holes to have a 1,000 yard rusher and only allowed 18 sacks as a whole throughout the season. Prior to the season, he was named to Phil Steele's FCS College Preview All-MVFC Second Team.
In 2012, he started all 15 games. He helped his team to rush for an average of 178 yards per game. That year, he received the following honors and awards: Sports Network FCS All-America First Team, Associated Press FCS All-America First Team, Walter Camp FCS All-America Team, College Sporting News FCS Fabulous Fifty, College Sports Journal FCS All-America Team, All-Missouri Valley Football Conference First Team, AllState AFCA Good Works Team Candidate, Phil Steele's FCS Preseason All-America Fourth Team and Preseason All-Missouri Valley Football H.M.
In 2013, he started all 15 games at left tackle and didn't allow one quarterback sack the entire season. He graded out at 90% throughout the regular season. In a game against Southern Illinois, which had the nation's fourth-ranked rushing defense, he recorded ten knockdowns and helped his team rush for 331 yards. Against Kansas State, a BCS school, he graded out at 96% and had ten knockdowns.
That year, he racked up the following awards: FCS Athletic Directors Association Offensive Lineman of the Year, AFCA FCS All-America First Team, Sports Network FCS All-America First Team, Associated Press FCS All-America First Team, Walter Camp FCS All-America Team, Two-Time MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week and All-Missouri Valley Football Conference First Team.
After declaring for the draft, he participated in the 2014 Senior Bowl. The scouting report from NFL.com states that Turner has big hands and nice length, which allows him to be light on his feet. His punch is very strong, which seems to be a theme on the re-built offensive line. His awareness is high, which allows him to handle stunts and when opponents are coming at him from numerous directions. He is tough and physical and keeps fighting until the whistle blows.
The downside for Turner is that he does need to improve his strength and base. At times, he plays too tall and his pad level fluctuates. His footwork and technique need work, but that is something that can be easily coached. He tends to overextend on some plays and struggles to clear his feet as a puller.
On May 12, the Miami Dolphins moved up in the third round to grab Turner, who became the highest selected North Dakota State player since 2002. Ironically, the player drafted then was running back Lamar Gordon, who played for the Dolphins in 2005.
Turner's family is no stranger to the NFL. His father, Maurice Turner, was drafted by the Minnesota Vikkings in 1983 as a running back and played for five years. Besides the Vikings, he played for the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets. His brother, Bryan Kehl Line, was drafted by the New York Giants in 2008 and last played in 2012. Besides the Giants, he has played for the St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins.
Turner should be able to take the experience of both his father and brother and use it to his advantage. I believe that he will have no problem adjusting to the NFL and the top competition. He will have to compete with Sam Brenner, Nate Garner and Dallas Thomas for the other starting guard position opposite Shelley Smith.
I expect that Turner will open up the season as a starter on the offensive line. He will be an immediate upgrade and will be able to provide a physical presence with a mean streak in him that should help rally his teammates around him. While the jury is still out on his run blocking, he is a tremendous pass blocker, which has been a huge emphasis with all of the players the Dolphins have added to the line this offseason.
Some say that he will need a year to transition to the NFL and start but the offensive guard position is one that can be somewhat masked, especially if you have a great tackle next to you. Regardless of which side Turner is slotted, he will either have a Pro Bowl tackle in Branden Albert or a highly touted first round draft pick in Ja'Wuan James. In addition, he will have Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey to help him as well. The zone blocking scheme the Dolphins use will also help Turner because the line works in unison to attack the opponents instead of focusing on individual matchups.
General Manager Dennis Hickey moved up in the third round of the draft to grab Turner. Earlier in the draft, Hickey stood firm and drafted James in the first round and then took Jarvis Landry in the second round. Some critics have said that this was a reach for both of them, but Hickey had a conviction that these two will help the Dolphins right away. By trading up for Turner, he showed that same conviction and one would assume that Hickey and head coach Joe Philbin have high expectations for him. All of this leads me to believe that it is Turner's job to lose and he should be one of the starting guards when the Dolphins kick off the 2014 season.
Matthew Cannata is a columnist for The Phinsider. Be sure to follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs