Tyler Starr might be a draft sleeper, but the learning curve isn't doing him any favors

Kevin C. Cox

Fact: Tyler Starr never mixes peanut butter with jelly, even when there's bread involved

Being a rookie in the NFL isn't easy. It's especially difficult when you're drafted in the 7th round. As a 7th round draft pick, you've certainly got something to prove. You came as close as it gets to being undrafted. Sure, you might've been a priority free agent, but all the fanfare associated with the draft almost past your by.

Tyler Starr has a lot of people excited. It's an interesting situation, you might even call it a head scratcher. If he's such a dynamic pass rusher, his critics argue, then why was he the second-to-last player taken in the draft. It's a fair criticism, but the haters those critics can rest assured, because Starr doesn't think he's arrived. Heck, if anything, he's just trying to keep up with the pack.

"Right when you come in, they throw a lot on you. I think they do that specifically [to find out] how much can [we] take in? How much can we pile on [their brains]? And much can [they] transfer to the field? It's one thing to understand it in the classroom, but it's [another] thing to see it live and actually go out there and do it like they expect. I guess the hardest part for me was to actually relay that from the classroom to the field. It's so much faster."

The Falcons need pass rushers. What Starr has with the Falcons is an opportunity. If he takes advantage of that opportunity, contributing to the betterment of the Falcons' historically dismal pass rush, then great. If he doesn't, then he will be gone, forgotten in a matter of years, as 7th round busts often are. I'm inclined to think the kid is a steal, with more ability than his draft status would indicate. We will have to wait and see, but for now, Starr's just trying to keep his head above water.

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