Surrounded by Former Michigan Teammates, Bengals’ DJ Turner II Ready To Go Head-to-Head With One

    Cincinnati Bengals cornerback DJ Turner II is preparing to compete with former Michigan teammate Dax Hill for a starting job this season.

    CINCINNATI – A lot of NFL players, as Cincinnati Bengals center Ted Karras admitted earlier this week, would feel anxiety if their team used an early-round draft pick on someone who plays their position.

    But Bengals cornerback DJ Turner II was actually rooting for it.

    For a moment Friday night, Turner thought it was happening. And he was going to be among the first to congratulate the newcomer.

    Turner was at the draft party for former Michigan teammate Mike Sainristil, who was a popular mock draft selection to Cincinnati.

    When Sainristil’s phone rang Friday night, the televisions at the party showed it was the Bengals who were on the clock.

    But the broadcast always lags behind actual picks, and Cincinnati had already selected another of Turner’s former teammates in defensive tackle Kris Jenkins with pick 49. It was the Washington Commanders calling to tell Sainristil they were taking him at No. 50 overall.

    “When he got the phone call, everybody was going, ‘Oh, he’s going to Cincinnati,’” Turner said Monday as the Bengals kicked off Week 3 of the offseason program. “But you know how that goes.”

    Turner said he and Sainristil talked before the NFL Draft about the possibility of being teammates again, and the Bengals coaches and scouts went to Turner for some added intel.

    Bengals’ DJ Turner II Says Dax Hill Embracing Switch to CB

    It turns out that even though the Bengals took one national champion Wolverine over another, Turner is still going to be battling a former teammate for a job in training camp.

    That’s because shortly after the draft ended, Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor confirmed that 2022 first-round pick Dax Hill will be making the switch to cornerback after starting all 17 games at safety last season.

    “It’s nothing new,” Turner said. “We came into college with each other (competing at cornerback).”

    In his final year at Michigan, Hill played 580 of his 893 snaps at slot corner.

    The year before, during the season shortened by the pandemic, he played only 155 of 476 snaps in the slot while lining up as a box safety on 155 plays and a free safety for 117.

    “That guy is going to do whatever the team needs him to do,” Turner said.

    Cam Taylor-Britt appears to have one outside corner spot locked down, and Mike Hilton would be tough to unseat in the slot, so it’s likely going to come down to Turner and Hill battling for the other outside corner job.

    While Hill has been navigating a position change, Turner said he’s been locked in improving his physical tools.

    “Get one step faster,” he said. “Stronger, faster. Just polish everything.”

    In addition to Hill and Jenkins, Turner played with running back Chris Evans and punter Brad Robbins. He also played with fourth-round pick Erick All, who spent four seasons at Michigan before transferring to Iowa.

    Meanwhile, incoming undrafted free agent running back Noah Cain, from LSU, won on Turner’s IMG Academy team in high school.

    “It’s crazy,” Turner said of all the connections. “It really is.”

    Listen to the PFN Bengals Podcast

    Listen to the PFN Bengals Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Bengals Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Bengals Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.

    Related Articles