Written by Kip Earlywine
Rundown: Nicknamed “The Turbinator” by some and “Hulk” by others, Robert Turbin is a bruising and highly productive runner from Utah State of the Western Athletic Conference.
Age: 22 (December 2, 1989)
40 time: 4.50
10 yard split: n/a
3 cone: 7.16
Vertical jump: 36″
Random trivia: Out of 67 running backs who performed at the combine, Turbin’s 28 bench press reps was tied for first with Doug Martin and Duane Bennett… Robert Turbin is from Oakland, the same hometown as Marshawn Lynch…. The second highlight video on Youtube for Turbin has the words “BEAST MODE” in its description… Lynch and Turbin have never been seen together… Turbin played his home games at Romney Stadium, named in honor of Mitt Romney’s father’s cousin… I accidentally typed the word “Turban” five times while writing this post.
- Super strong: Thick lower body, huge arms
- Good size for his height
- Rarely stopped cold, he often pushes forward for extra yardage
- Very high yards per carry without being part of a gimmick offense
- Respectable production as a backfield receiver
- Nose for the endzone
- Deceptively high top speed
- Disciplined runner who avoids the temptation to bounce outside if the play doesn’t call for it
- Solid vision and change of direction skills
- Willing blocker
- Non-BCS level of competition
- Looks slow behind the line- takes a while to get up to top speed
- Missed 2010 season from a knee injury
- Explosiveness looks average at best
- Breaks surprisingly few tackles
Last season, Robert Turbin rushed for 1517 yards and had 23 total touchdowns (19 rushing). He averaged 6.1 yards per carry, one of the higher rates in the nation. His size, speed, and production are all very close to Ryan Mathews when he came out of the WAC two years ago, and both enter the NFL with some injury concerns. Mathews was drafted 12th overall. Granted, I wasn’t one of Mathew’s biggest fans back in 2010 (I gave him a 3rd round grade), but I don’t see a ton of separation between Mathews and Turbin as prospects.
So why isn’t Turbin talked about as a first round pick or at least a top five running back? To be honest, I’m not quite sure. Perhaps its partially because 2012 is a loaded running back class or the fact that seemingly nobody spends much time talking about him. Of course, just because pundits don’t talk about a player doesn’t mean that scouts haven’t already written a book on the guy. Honestly, it wouldn’t shock me if Turbin goes earlier than some big name running backs like Chris Polk, David Wilson or Isaiah Pead.
This isn’t to say that I think Turbin is a carbon copy of Mathews, I think a much better comparison would be Marshawn Lynch with less tackle breaking ability and less lateral agility. Turbin is a determined guy and he runs like it. He’s the kind of back that would rather lower his shoulder into a linebacker than try to juke him.
Turbin has deceptive speed. His 4.50 forty time is the real deal, but unfortunately it takes him a little while to reach it. Playing in the WAC, his 4.50 speed might as well be a 4.40, as he has runs of 80 and 96 yards in his last two playing seasons. Turbin probably won’t be a regular big play threat in the NFL, but every once in a while he’ll give you a nice sideline scamper- think along the lines of Marshawn Lynch’s 47 yarder against the Giants last year.
Other than possible knee concerns, there is a lot to like about Turbin and not much to dislike. For my money he’s a 3rd round talent or better, and if his current level of non-hype is any indication, there is a chance he may last until the 4th or 5th round. Turbin fits very well with Seattle’s philosophy of physical play and it wouldn’t surprise me if he made an impact immediately. There are many running backs I like more than Turbin, but if Seattle waits until the 3rd or 4th round and all the big name running backs are gone, Turbin is an excellent fallback option. He could end up being a steal for some team.