What to know about new Packers WR Malik Turner

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Zach Kruse
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The Green Bay Packers are signing wide receiver Malik Turner, giving GM Brian Gutekunst’s roster an experienced option after losing Devin Funchess, the team’s only notable offseason addition at the position.

Here’s what to know about the new Packers wide receiver:

Pre-Packers

Turner spent his first two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, who signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Illinois in July of 2018. Turner actually had a rookie minicamp tryout with the Packers following the 2018 draft but didn’t receive a contract. Despite spending most of his rookie season on Seattle’s practice squad, he was activated to the 53-man roster twice and played in six games. He caught his first career pass, a 19-yard catch, on Nov. 25, 2018, against the Carolina Panthers. Last season, Turner set career highs with 15 catches and 245 receiving yards. He caught his first career touchdown pass on Nov. 24, 2019, against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Opportunity

The Packers have options at receiver but aren’t blessed with overwhelming depth or talent at the position, opening the door for Turner – who made plays last season in Seattle – to earn a roster spot and potentially even factor into the team’s plans in the passing game. Geronimo Allison left in free agency and Devin Funchess opted out, so snaps are available, both on the perimeter in the slot. He’ll need to prove reliable and trustworthy during an abbreviated training camp to quickly earn Aaron Rodgers’ trust and find ways to get on the field for the Packers in 2020.

Stats to know

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Turner has 17 career catches for 265 yards and one score over 21 career games. Last season, he averaged 16.3 yards per catch and 11.1 yards per target, with six catches over 20 yards and a catch percentage of 68.3. Quarterbacks had a passer rating of 120.5 when targeting him in 2019. He created 10 first downs on 15 catches and averaged 6.7 yards after the catch. His average depth of target was 12.1 yards, with a long catch of 33 yards.

PFF

Turner earned an overall grade of 68.0 at Pro Football Focus during the 2019 season with the Seahawks. He averaged 1.93 yards per route run, which actually led all Seahawks receivers, and he caught both of his catchable targets over 20 yards. PFF did credit him with four drops, including one against the Packers in the NFC Divisional Round. His passer rating when targeted was the second-best among Seahawks receivers, trailing only Tyler Lockett. Turner had six games with a grade over 70.0 and seven under 60.0. He played roughly half of his snaps from the slot, catching eight passes for 148 yards and averaging 2.47 yard per route run when lined up inside.

College

Turner finished his collegiate career with the ninth-most receptions (143) and ninth-most receiving yards (1,804) in Illinois history. He caught 10 touchdown passes while playing in 46 career games. His best season came as a junior in 2016, when he caught 48 passes for 712 yards and six scores and was named an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection. That same year, he caught 11 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns – all career-highs – in a game against Northwestern. Turner finished his career with at least one catch in 30 straight games. He was an academic All-Big Ten each of his last three seasons.