I saw this article linked on the CBS.com draft page and was quite fascinated with what I read. There's a small school OLB that is raising eyebrows after his performance during Shrine Bowl week, and scouts are taking notice.
Not much has happened in South Dakota since General George Custer discovered gold in them there (Black) Hills, leading to a gold rush in violation of the U.S treaty with the Sioux. This discovery, of course, led to war and Custer's demise in Montana at the confluence of the Little (and) Big Horn rivers.
Fast forward to today, and we have an interesting prospect from the University of South Dakota that could be a late-round nugget for the Panthers. His name is Tyler Starr (I know, right?), and he may become a much hotter topic in NFL war rooms after this week's Combine.
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.
Starr (6'4, 250lbs) is still relatively unheralded, but the article points out that he is extremely athletic, as noted below...
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!'
Better at football than the classroom, Starr's grades kept him out of D1 football programs. But, he showed that he could play with the big boys when he got the chance...
Starr knows there is skepticism from some since he didn't play at the FBS level, but he has been impressive when he has played against 1-A opponents. In addition to his showing against Air Force, Starr was all over the field in 2012 against Northwestern, when he made 11 tackles, a sack and a TFL. This season against Kansas, Starr had two sacks, a QB hurry, a forced fumble and broke up a pass.
If we can believe what's being said, then don't be surprised if he sets a new modern day record in the 3-cone test this week. Used to evaluate the agility, quickness, and fluidity of movement among prospects, the 3-cone is recognized as one of the more important and influential drills of the Combine.
Reall, who is also training more than a dozen other football players including guys from the SEC and Big Ten, says Starr's 6.29 time is legit..."I timed it myself twice, and also had another coach time it and he hit the same number." For the 'record,' the fastest 3-cone time to date was a 6.42 (WR Jeff Maehl, 2011).
Starr has done a lot of growing up during his college years...
In May 2011, Starr became a dad. His son Hunter was born. All of a sudden, he felt a powerful sense of responsibility and purpose.
"It was like a 180-degree turn," he said. "Everything I did was so selfish before. Now, it's about being a role model for my son and for my family. Every decision that I make will reflect that because of this blessing that came into my life."
After the Shrine game, he also proposed to his now-fiancee.
So if Getts is looking at potential BPA in round five or later, I hope this time he catches a rising Starr.