Arizona Cardinals rookie Zeke Turner is vying to become the latest special teams ace to represent the club in the Pro Bowl
It was back in April that the Arizona Cardinals’ front office made an under-the-radar acquisition. Many undrafted free agents fail to pan out, but there are those who take full advantage of their opportunity. Zeke Turner got through an entire NFL draft without being selected, but is now paying dividends to a Cards’ club that inked him to a deal afterwards.
Not everyone who makes it to the pros makes an impact on the offensive or defensive side of the ball. There is, however, another option for some. It’s called the special teams, and many players have managed to carve out quite a career by excelling on the least-glorified unit of the squad.
Turner has been outstanding in that area in 2018. Heading into week 14, the rookie leads the league with 12 special teams tackles. Not bad for a safety/linebacker out of the University of Washington who was ignored for the entire seven rounds of this past April’s draft.
Turner is not the first member of the organization to find success as a special teamer. Ron Wolfley, the Cardinals’ current radio broadcaster, got invited to four Pro Bowls back in the 1980’s. Wolfley was a fullback by trade, but certainly had more of an impact as a wedge-buster.
Former Arizona cornerback Justin Bethel also excelled on special teams, and was rewarded with three Pro Bowl invitations (2013-15). The Presbyterian College standout blocked five kicks over a two-year period while at school, prompting the Cards to draft him in 2012. Bethel has nine special teams tackles this year with the Atlanta Falcons, proof that the veteran is still getting it done as a part of the specialized group.
The Cardinals spawned yet another special teams ace last year. Budda Baker, a safety taken in the second round, racked up 13 stops on kick returns as a rookie. The University of Washington product got himself noticed by doing so, and was appointed the NFC’s special teams representative in the 2017 Pro Bowl.
Turner has a very good chance of following in the footsteps of his predecessors. The Pro Bowl voting will conclude on December 13th. Turner is certainly deserving of the honor, and there’s a decent possibility that the voters will agree with that sentiment.