When the Jacksonville Jaguars announced that they had signed their second round pick Marquis Lee, the team’s only remaining unsigned rookie draft pick, it left three rookies in the entire draft class left to ink their first contract.
One of those rookies left to make it official is Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Billy Turner. The North Dakota State product is the last of the draft class to come to terms. Of the other rookies who have not struck a deal of yet, Eighth overall pick Justin Gilbert has yet to sign his deal with the Cleveland Browns. Once he does, new coach Mike Pettine plans to plug in the former Oklahoma State cornerback as an immediate starter across from Joe Haden. Tennessee offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, the draft's No. 11 pick, has yet to sign with the Titans.
The former Michigan bookend will be given a chance to crack the first-team lineup ahead of Michael Oher and across from Michael Roos.
The fact Turner, who was the third players chosen by the Dolphins in this year’s NFL Draft is not signed is a head-turner and mystery to most.
According to the phinsider.com, “traditionally, there have been more unsigned draft picks at this point of the offseason, with teams starting to scramble to get all of their players under contract before the start of training camp. Under the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, however, much of the need for negotiation was eliminated with the implementation of a rookie wage scale, making it easier for teams to bring their rookies into the fold.”
Turner was drafted with the intention of competing for the right guard position and provide depth at tackle as well.
At 6’4” and 315 pounds, in 2013, Turner made all 15 starts in 2013 at left tackle and was responsible for zero quarterback sacks. He was named All-Missouri Valley Football Conference first team and two-time Offensive Lineman of the Week. He was a consensus FCS All-American in 2012 and 2013 and was part of three FCS national championship teams.
Turner is expected to be part of a rebuilding project on the offensive line. The team will start with five new starters on the line because incumbent center Mike Pouncey is out with an injury.