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Tyler Starr Above The Rest


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Oh no! He beat Matthews. Let the panic begin!

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By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com

Not one day of Atlanta Falcons rookie minicamp went by without Tyler Starr being noticed on the football field.

The outside linebacker and seventh-round pick from South Dakota played with high energy throughout the three sessions. And the fact his long blonde hair flopped around outside his helmet only made him much more visible.

Tyler Starr made a good first impression on coach Mike Smith during the Falcons' rookie minicamp."Well, he's a very energetic player," coach Mike Smith said of Starr. "He has the look of a very free-spirited guy. But that's not necessarily what it is. He's very focused. And I like his work ethic. I think he has the ability to rush off the edge. I think he also has the ability to be a guy that we can drop into coverage and ask to play man to man. And those are the type of guys we're trying to add to our defense."

Starr, who is is 6-foot-5 and weighs 250 pounds, has a quick first step and plays with some power. He even beat first-round pick Jake Matthews around the edge on Sunday while showing a burst not typical of a late-round pick.

The scratches on Starr's neck where indicative of how fierce and relentless a competitor he can be.

"Just coming in, the first thing was to adjust to the facilities," Starr said. "You're in a new place, new league. Just to come out here, the first thing was to learn that playbook as fast as possible so I could play fast. That's really important here. Mental errors aren't allowed in this game, especially when you're trying to earn a spot. But the mental has to be 100 percent. They'll take a physical error here and there or a technique error here or there. But, you've got to know that playbook."

Starr often rushed out of a four-point stance, something he said he altered in his game upon arriving in Atlanta. If rookie minicamp was a glimpse of his true talent, then Starr could be an immediately contributor to a team in desperate need of a pass rush. He and fellow rookie Prince Shembo are a pair of outside linebackers the Falcons could count on heavily in terms of pressuring opposing quarterbacks.

"I think the most important part is that I've got a chance to show this team what I can do and hopefully, bust my butt so I can make this team," said Starr, who signed a four-year contract Sunday that included a $45,896 signing bonus and $2.2 million in base salaries. "At the end of the day, I want to be playing football for as long as I possibly can."

His next chance to make an impression will come a week from Tuesday, when the Falcons begin organized team activities.

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I am so fired up since the draft. So many of these dudes were under the radar, but the more I learn about them, the more pumped I am for training camp. If we avoid injuries this season, we will be a dominant team thanks to the depth we seem to have accrued at multiple positions. Thanks for posting.

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I am so fired up since the draft. So many of these dudes were under the radar, but the more I learn about them, the more pumped I am for training camp. If we avoid injuries this season, we will be a dominant team thanks to the depth we seem to have accrued at multiple positions. Thanks for posting.

I agree. You have to have depth. We just learned that the hard way. I do love the quote Dimi cited in another article posted by McClure..."Depth is great until you have to use it." I haven't the time to look up who he was quoting atm...

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I am so fired up since the draft. So many of these dudes were under the radar, but the more I learn about them, the more pumped I am for training camp. If we avoid injuries this season, we will be a dominant team thanks to the depth we seem to have accrued at multiple positions. Thanks for posting.

Agreed. I think Shembo/Starr/Allen are going to be STEALS in this draft. Smallwood has a good chance to make ILB depth (maybe even send Dent packing.)
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We may be phasing out spoon (always injured) and dent (horrible in coverage) for Starr, bartu, worrilow, shembo pretty soon.

I sure hope so...

If for no other reason than with Tyler Starr, Joplo Bartu, Worrilow, and Prince Shembo, we would have, in all the NFL, a linebacking corps with names that sound the most like they came from Star Wars!

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I think Starr is going to surprise a ton of people. There was this formula that some guy used on Football Futures for 3-4 OLB and it was pretty consistent. Starr was rated his low risk1 while Clowney was rated low risk 2(less likely of a bust). Sheembo was rated as moderate risk yet Dee Ford and Attachou was rated as high risk for bust.

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