LB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State
Vontaze Burfict, #7
6'3", 245 lbs., 21 years old
2011: 69 tackles, 7 TFL, 5 sacks, INT
2010: 90 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 2 FF
2009: 69 tackles, 7 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 FF
- Elite blend of size and speed for the linebacker position. Has the physical build and the ability to cover sideline-to-sideline.
- One of, if not the biggest hitters available in the 2012 NFL Draft. Always looking for maximum contact. Will drive the ball carrier in to the ground.
- An excellent blitzer. Times the snap well and gets in the backfield rather easily.
- Great at getting off blockers and working towards the ball carrier.
- Personality concerns. Showed immaturity throughout his three years with the Sun Devils. Countless personal foul calls, arguments with teammates on the sidelines, refusing to come out of the game. There are some serious red flags.
- Takes a lot of false steps. Seemed to be more easily deceived in his junior season than the sophomore one. Rushed the wrong gap as a middle linebacker more than a few times.
- Has shown a tendency to overrun the ball carrier in looking for a big hit. Has gotten burnt by it.
- Plays with reckless abandon when things start to go awry. Is he out to hurt people? Helmet-to-helmet hits, he went for Matt Barkley's knees in a high school game, and other examples.
- Turns 22 in September.
Projection: Late 1st to 2nd
- In the case of Vontaze Burfict, the team is either getting a boom or bust type of prospect. There doesn't seem to be an in between. If he gets to the right locker room that can help him control his immaturity and lead him to evolve, while still playing with the same passion, he could develop in to something special. But there also is the huge risk that you just spent a first or second round pick on a guy that is a head case. The rookie wage scale may put a team more at ease on pulling the trigger in drafting Burfict, but his character concerns will lead him to drop.
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