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Broncos roster review: Rookie safety Delarrin Turner-Yell

Turner-Yell has a chance to earn a special teams role this upcoming season for the Broncos.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 27 Oklahoma at Oklahoma State Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Denver Broncos selected Oklahoma safety Delarrin Turner-Yell with their 152nd overall selection in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He’s a 5’10”, 192-pound safety who was ranked as the 17th best safety in the draft by The Athletic’s draft guru Dane Brugler. He also had Turner-Yell graded as a 5th-6th round selection.

He played a total of four seasons at Oklahoma and was a key member of their defense. During his four seasons at Oklahoma, he totaled 190 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 0.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 6 pass deflections, and 1 forced fumble. This past season, Turner-Yell

The Broncos have a crowded safety room with multiple prospects fighting for that final one or two spots at that position. A focus on special team's play will factor into making the roster and players like the rookie safety Turner-Yell will need to play well there to make this team. Especially with veterans Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson along with 2021 draft pick Caden Sterns all but locks to make the roster.

Player Profile

Delarrin Turner-Yell | Safety | Rookie
Height: 5’10” | Weight: 197 pounds | 40-time: 4.47 seconds
Arm Length: 31 3/4” | Hands: 10”
Broad Jump: 122 inches


How Delarrin Turner-Yell fits with the Broncos

Turner-Yell is an interesting addition to the Broncos' secondary. It is an already crowded room with veterans Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson as your starters, Caden Sterns entrenched as your third safety, and P.J. Locke, 2021 rookie Jamar Johnson, and free-agent signing J.R. Reed fighting for the final spots. Now, you add rookie Delarrin Turner-Yell into the mix and you have some competition here at the safety position.

Turner-Yell, being a rookie has an inside track on making the roster, but it’s not a guarantee. He will need to play well on special teams which is something the new coaching staff has put an emphasis on. So, Turner-Yell will need to impress there and it is something he is willing and ready to do.

“Anything that can help the team win. If that means me playing on special teams for the entire year, I’m willing to do that. If I have to come in and play a role on the defensive side, I can do that. [I’ll do] anything that leads us to having success at the end of the day.”

His experience on special teams is likely something that led to the Broncos selecting him in the fifth round of the draft. He told reporters that he played many roles on special teams during his four seasons at Oklahoma.

“I played quite a few. I played on punt all four years and punt return early on. The majority of my time at Oklahoma, I played on kickoff and punt. I played a lot at OU.”

As for a potential role on defense, he’s a bit undersized for being a safety but has the toughness to be effective in the run game. However, this could lead to potential durability concerns because of his cornerback-ish size and frame.

With all that said, I don’t really see Turner-Yell contributing too much on defense this year. It would take a few injuries for him to see the field.

What analysts are saying about Turner-Yell

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler from his annual draft guide on Broncos safety Delarrin Turner-Yell.

A three-year starter at Oklahoma, Turner-Yell was the strong safety in former defensive coordinator Alex Grinch’s 3-3-5 base scheme. When on the field, he brought a level of consistency to an otherwise inconsistent Sooners defense, finishing top-four on the team in tackles per game the past three seasons. Turner-Yell trusts his preparation and eye discipline, which allows him to play fast and be in the right position to make plays vs. the run and in coverage as a split safety. His toughness is a strength to his game, but his physical nature works against his durability, which is a potential problem in the NFL. Overall, Turner-Yell is undersized and will have his struggles in man coverage, but he is a decisive downhill alley runner with the range and intangibles that will appeal to NFL defensive coordinators. He will need to get better on special teams to help his long-term roster chances.’s draft analyst Lance Zierlein on Broncos safety Delarrin Turner-Yell.

Turner-Yell’s fluidity in space is the first thing that jumps off the tape whether he’s in coverage or in pursuit as a run defender. Anticipation and decisiveness help speed up his pace of play, but his playmaking demeanor also hurts his coverage discipline at times. He’s versatile to play in a variety of coverages, but asking him to play man coverage against pass-catching tight ends might be biting off more than he can chew. He has the traits and demeanor to become a capable run defender but needs better pursuit angles to hold up against a faster level of competition. There are tools to work with, but Turner-Yell needs to play with better consistency to reach his potential.

Delarrin Turner-Yell’s RAS Score

Final Thoughts

Turner-Yell has an inside track on a roster spot, but it’s far from a guarantee. The Broncos spent a fifth-round pick on Juwan Johnson last season, signed safety J.R. Reed who has connections to the coaching staff earlier this offseason, and P.J. Locke has been around for a few seasons now. So, Turner-Yell will need to beat out these players if he wants to make the roster.

As I stated earlier, he’ll have to impress on special teams to make this roster. It is something he has done at Oklahoma a good bit so it will probably be a seamless transition for him into the NFL.

With that said, you can make a case for Juwan Johnson whom the Broncos drafted last year in the same role. J.R. Reed has starting reps and played for this defensive coaching staff, and Locke has been held this role in the past. So, this will be an interesting battle to watch this summer.


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