Today's late round gem is South Dakota outside linebacker Tyler Starr. He raised eyebrows leading up to the NFL scouting combine by announcing his intention to break the 3-cone drill record. Though he did fall short of his goal he still managed to finish seventh out all the players at the combine. Please note that I said all the players not just the linebackers.
Here are the full results of his combine workouts as reported by his NFL combine profile.
Arm length: 32.5"
40-yard dash: 4.95s
Short shuttle: 4.15s
3-cone drill: 6.64s
Bench: 24 reps
Broad jump: 116"
Strengths: He has ideal size to play OLB in a 3-4 and as his combine numbers show he has excellent short area quickness and acceleration. He is a high motor, high effort pass rusher. When rushing the passer he plays with good leverage and has multiple pass rush moves in his repertoire including a devastating bull rush. He is a solid open field tackler. His ability to open fluidly turn his hips and accelerate to full speed allows him to be solid in pass coverage.
Weaknesses: He does not show the same aggressiveness against the run that he displays while rushing the passer. He would rather run around or catch blockers than stack and shed in the run game. His field awareness is up and down. He is easily fooled by play action and zone read options. He rushes out of control at times and as a result will run himself out of plays. He shows the athletic ability to turn and run in coverage but we still need to develop his raw talent into actual coverage skills. The strength he displays bull rushing disappears completely when he tries to set the edge against the run.
Falcons Fit: Tyler Starr is projected to be a seventh round pick by most news outlets but his combine performance may be enough convince a team to take a risk on him in the sixth. It's just as likely that he could fall from the draft altogether. Though he did not run a fast 40 time his agility drill numbers are fantastic and he has real upside as a rotational pass rusher. He will have to spend a few seasons learning the ins and outs of playing in the NFL to be more than a rotational player but he would presumably be afforded that opportunity in Atlanta. In the mean time he could contribute on coverage teams and as rotational pass rush specialist.