Atlanta Falcons place Stone on IR, promote Starr to 53


The Atlanta Falcons have made another roster move involving the Injured Reserve list, putting C James Stone on it and promoting LB Tyler Starr to the 53.

The Atlanta Falcons made another calibration to the 53-man roster Friday morning before their last road game of the year when they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field this weekend. Atlanta elected to place center James Stone on IR with a knee injury and promoted linebacker Tyler Starr to the 53-man roster, per the team’s official Twitter account.

Stone has had success at the professional level after being an undrafted free agent out of the University of Tennessee. He played in 12 games as a rookie for the Atlanta Falcons in 2014, starting nine at center. He did a fine job replacing the injured starter Joe Hawley early last season.

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However, Stone did not beat out Mike Person for the starting center gig in 2015, appearing in seven of the Atlanta Falcons’ 13 games this season. He started only in Week 6 at center, as Person was dealing with a bad ankle injury. 19 games played in two years an a former UDFA isn’t bad in the slightest for Stone, but his 2015 season with the Falcons comes to an end today.

Tyler Starr is a former seventh round draft pick by the Atlanta Falcons in 2014 out of the University of South Dakota. As a rookie, he made the 53-man roster, but was never active for a game. He didn’t make the cut with the 2015 squad out of training camp, but has been on the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad since the beginning of this season.

I believe this roster change for the Atlanta Falcons benefits Stone, Starr, and the team in several ways. It benefits Stone in that he will have more time to recover from his knee injury. Since the ankle injury in Week 5 versus Washington, Person has not been great at center and Stone could end up competing for the starting gig for the Atlanta Falcons again in 2016.

Starr, like many players that didn’t play in the Power 5, may need some time to acclimate to playing at the NFL level. Perhaps head coach Dan Quinn, defensive coordinator Richard Smith, and even special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong feel that Starr is ready to contribute to the team in the final three weeks of 2015.

Starr has yet to appear in an NFL regular season game, so it’s a big deal for he and his family. It will also allow the Falcons’ front office to see what they have in Starr before entering the 2016 offseason. Perhaps we will see Tyler Starr active on Sunday against the Jaguars.

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I’d like to think this move is more about his promotion than Stone’s injury concerns. Sure, it’s proactive to aid on the side of precaution with Stone’s knee, but Atlanta may end up having something in their former seventh round pick in outside linebacker Tyler Starr.