As we approach the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, there will be a few names popping up on your radar that hadn’t before. One of those names is Tyler Starr, and this is a player you should definitely know about.
Starr is a linebacker from the University of South Dakota, a school that is certainly not known for pumping out NFL talent. In recent years as USD has grown through the NCAA ranks, so too has the level of talent being pumped through the school.
It’s certainly been a tough road to the NFL through the Coyote football program, but you may know a couple of names like Stefan Logan, formerly a punt returner for the Detroit Lions or Tom Compton, an offensive tackle for the Washington Redskins.
Those guys were major standouts in their time with USD, but Starr brings a different level of talent and athletic ability, even claiming he can beat the Scouting Combine record in the three-cone drill.
Known for his ability to make plays in the backfield, Starr is a hybrid linebacker who can get after it. He’s got a great frame and incredible athleticism, though some wonder whether he has the strength to handle a full load at the NFL level.
Regardless, as a rookie I fully expect Starr to become part of a rotation and at least give teams an additional option on third downs. He has a great motor and should be the type of guy that you hate to have to go against, because he will wear you down with nothing but pure effort.
Check out Draft Breakdown’s video of Starr against Youngstown State.
There are also some great nuggets about Starr from a recent article by CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman.
“I like him a lot,” said one NFL scout. “He’s tall, long and extremely athletic and plays with a high motor. I’d heard some chatter about him this fall and went to see him, and he’s way more athletic than I thought he’d be. You still wonder if he has enough power and strength at the point of attack right now to be an every-down guy, but he really has a knack for rushing the passer and he has some real third-down value.”
Or how about the guys training Starr at D1 Sports Training in Tennessee?
“Tyler’s mobility for his size is unbelievable,” said Scott Reall at D1 Sports Training in Tennessee, who has worked with Starr the past two months. “Once I’ve been able to teach him proper technique and steps, he’s been brushing all-time records in the [three-cone] L-drill. His ability to explode off a change of direction and not lose a lot of time is remarkable. He is just so explosive. The first time everybody saw it here, people were like ‘Holy crap!'”
That kind if reaction is what Starr is hoping to get out of NFL scouts this week at the combine. Right now, I view Starr as a lock fifth round pick or higher, and I think with a good performance at the Combine and his Pro Day, he could rise even higher, potentially as high as a fourth round pick.
Scouts will still have concerns based on where he went to college, but this guy has a great work ethic, production to back it up, and obviously top level athleticism. If he can put it all together he will have himself a very solid NFL career.