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An interview with new Falcons OLB Tuzar Skipper

Read Justin Melo’s interview with Atlanta’s newest linebacker, who talks about stopping the run and making it into the league as an undrafted player.

NFL: New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta’s training camp is going to be defined by competition, especially in a deeply unsettled outside linebacker group. The latest signing there is Tuzar Skipper, a physical player trying to find his way into a real role with the Falcons, who have close to a dozen players competing for jobs on the 53 man roster there.

Justin Melo at The Draft Network, who was kind enough to share his interview with Jaeden Graham with us the other day, also had the opportunity to talk to Skipper recently. His brief interview is below, so read it and give the new outside linebacker a warm welcome to Atlanta.

Justin Melo: You originally broke into the league as an undrafted free agent with the Steelers. You’ve experienced all the highs and lows the NFL has to offer. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?

Tuzar Skipper: I’ve learned to trust the process. No matter what, you just have to keep going. God willing, there’s always going to be an opportunity waiting down the road for you. You can’t get too up or down. When something doesn’t go your way, it’s just because you weren’t ready for it at that moment. Sometimes you need more experience or exposure before things fall your way. Just keep going.

Justin Melo: You played college football at The University of Toledo. It’s seen as an underdog school, but you’ve actually encountered a bunch of your former teammates at the NFL level.

Tuzar Skipper: It means so much to me to reunite with some of my old college teammates. Guys like [offensive tackle] Elijah Nkansah and [Titans backup quarterback] Logan Woodside are still in the league. We were teammates in Tennessee. I was teammates with Ola Adeniyi in Pittsburgh and briefly again with the Titans.

Us Toledo guys created good relationships with one another in college and now we’re getting a chance to strengthen that bond even further in the NFL. To be honest with you, it’s really cool. We all think it’s so great. I trust those guys and they trust me. We all have a lovely relationship.

Justin Melo: You’re now playing for a Falcons coaching staff that’s very familiar with you. When you were on the field for the Titans last season, I thought you flashed some great things as a run stopper. Tell me a little about your approach as a run defender.

Tuzar Skipper: I’ve always wanted to be more physical than my opponent. That’s how I approach stopping the run. That’s the biggest factor when it comes to having success in the run game in my opinion. You have to “want to” stop the run. It’s a mentality more than anything. My approach is to play within my assignment. I love making a play against the run. I’m always trying to sniff out a run play when I’m on the field. It starts with practicing good habits. From there, I hope it translates on Sundays.

Justin Melo: We can’t wait to see you at training camp over the next few weeks. I’ve really appreciated your time today, Tuzar. In closing, what do your goals look like for these next few weeks?

Tuzar Skipper: I’m ready to get to Atlanta and compete for a roster spot. I’m healthy and ready to play football. I’m excited to show the coaching staff what I’m capable of. Coach Arthur Smith got a glimpse of what I can do last season. I’m just ready to build on that. Let’s get back to work.

A big thanks to Melo and Skipper for the interview. We’ll wish Skipper luck as he looks to beat out the raft of young outside linebackers vying for a roster spot this summer in what looks to be a spirited competition.