Tyler Starr, OLB, South Dakota (HT: 6’4 1/8” WT: 250 lbs.)
Seventh Round: 255th Pick
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- Adequate size, bulk and length.
- Very quick feet, comfortable in space with change-of-direction ability and overall fluidity of movement.
- Quick first step to come off the ball or into pursuit from static positions.
- Instinctive linebacker with situational awareness and ability to find the ball at all times.
- Hand usage as a rusher is a plus, will rip through the outside shoulder of tackles or bat away their hands.
- Flexible enough to dip under blockers on the edge as a speed rusher and turn the corner.
- Generates speed to power and can bull rush with effectiveness.
- Will utilize a nimble spin move as a rusher or to spin off run blocks.
- Gets his hands into passing lanes well.
- Shows flashes of big-hit ability.
- Likes to rip at the ball as ball-carriers go to the ground and has a strong track record of forcing fumbles.
- Productive despite seeing lots of attention from opposing offenses.
- Plays with a high effort level to chase down plays.
- Doesn’t have any one area of the game he clearly plays at the level of an NFL starter.
- Unorthodox linebacker in terms of technique, tends to shoot from the hip.
- Too reactive instead of anticipating plays.
- Ends up playing slower at times due to indecisiveness in read-and-react.
- Doesn’t set up pass-rushing moves or play the chess match from snap to snap.
- Locks on to quarterbacks in zone coverage instead of playing with his head on a swivel.
- On the slow side in the open field, leaves plays on the field due to poor closing speed.
- Ability to play with strength is reliant on building it up through speed.
- Gives ground when he has to take run-blockers head-on.
- Won’t come downhill to close down space on lead blockers, getting run up on instead.
- Has small hands and insufficient upper-body strength to fire hands and control run blocks.
- 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year
- 2013 first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference
- 2012 second-team All-Missouri Valley Conference
- East-West Shrine Game participant
Tyler Starr made a name for himself as the prospect out to break the three-cone drill record at the combine for linebackers. As it turned out, he finished second all-time, which is still a job well-done.
His combine performance wasn’t an all-around success, though—more of a confirmation of what he showed on the field than a revelation.
The appeal with Starr is that he’s a jack of all trades. He can bring something on the pass rush, in run support and pass coverage. The problem is that he doesn’t really shine in any of the above. That makes him more of a depth pick and a player who needs to contribute on special teams.
Defenses that employ hybrid or multiple fronts should be interested, but shouldn’t project Starr as a starter right away.
Draft Projection: Fifth Round
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