Birthday: January 10, 1982
Strengths: Max Starks is the next great tackle prospect out of Florida, and he’s ready to tip the scales as possibly the best one yet. As a sophomore, he replaced Kenyatta Walker at right tackle after the Buccaneers drafted Walker in 2001. That fall, Starks made a name for himself as a punishing run blocker. Then as a junior, Starks shifted to left tackle to replace Mike Pearson after the Jaguars selected him. By making that transition, Starks proved he could hold his ground in pass protection, too, guarding Rex Grossman’s blind spot.
Many scouts think Starks is at least as good of a prospect as Pearson and Walker were, and it may have a lot to do with the combination of size and strength Starks brings to the field. He has a strong body head-to-toe, and that toe squeezes into a size 19 shoe. Try finding that in stock at your local Foot Locker.
Starks is a beefy guy, but he’s actually worked hard to drop a lot weight since arriving at Gainesville. As a freshman, Starks was a 385-pound behemoth who loved fried foods. Now, he’s eating smarter and in the best shape of his life. Starks claims that as a result, his reaction times are quicker and his feet move a lot easier.
Areas for Concern: Good for him because Starks is not an agile man. He often looks awkward on the field and does not appear lucky enough to have everything come naturally to him. His 5.3 forty time is nothing to crow about, and because he’s still a little raw and slow as a left tackle, a good speed rush can sometimes elude him. More consistency during his senior season would go a long way in proving to NFL scouts that he’s ready for the next step.
Starks also found himself in a bit of a mess this spring when he crashed his vehicle into a campus dining facility. Running fifteen minutes late to a team meeting and not wearing a seatbelt, he lost control of his car and needed stitches on his forehead afterward. Not a good way for a team leader to set the example for the younger Gators.
How Does He Look in Steel Blue? The Texans are in the hunt for another tackle to groom in their post-Boselli future. General Manager Charley Casserly has not been bashful in past drafts when it comes to selecting offensive linemen on the draft’s first day, so Starks is a possible candidate to be groomed.
Starks’ draft stock has bounced around quite a bit. He considered leaving Florida early, but when he was advised that he might slip into the draft’s top half of the second round, Starks chose to stick around for his final year of eligibility. If he starts to slip on draft day, Casserly might make a move on him as a value pick. Though Starks might not have the speed to be an ideal left tackle in the NFL, his flexibility to play either side of the line could enhance his value to the Texans.
(profile written by Keith Weiland)
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