Vontaze Burfict 2012 NFL Draft Scouting Report
Player Name: Vontaze Burfict
Position: Middle Linebacker
School: Arizona State
Vontaze Burfict has done wonders for the Arizona State defense, despite struggles in his junior season.
Entering his third year, he has appeared in every game since his freshman season, and has really made an impact that Pac-12 offenses game plan against during the practices leading up to game time.
Burfict’s raw ability as a middle linebacker will be heavily coveted by scouts, owners, coaches and GM’s in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Burfict’s aggressive play style is exactly what you want out of your defensive signal caller. He has fantastic read and react ability, and is a pure headhunter getting to the ball quickly and rarely missing a tackle. Despite his size he’s very quick with nice straight line speed.
Burfict is a big hitting linebacker, or a sledgehammer in more informal terms. He looks to fit the role of an ideal 3-4 inside linebacker who also has very good pass rushing ability. Burfict does a nice job of breaking down in the open field and making the tackle, even on the most agile of rushers.
Burfict’s timing on blitzes is excellent, as well as evading blockers when in pursuit of the runner in the backfield. He plays with a chip on his shoulder at times, and is not afraid to lay the wood whether you’re the quarterback or the punter.
The biggest concern with Burfict is his ruthless play. Much like the Pittsburgh Steelers’ own James Harrison, Burfict will come in head first and hit the opposition as hard as possible. Penalties are likely to be a bit of a problem if not coached properly. At one point, Arizona State Head Coach Dennis Erickson benched Burfict because of personal fouls.
Burfict also was in an altercation in which he punched a teammate of his, which could be a red flag to NFL owners and coaches.
From a technical stand point, Burfict could improve in coverage. At times he’s been known to get flat footed and will bite on the play action if sold well enough.
Shedding blocks in the NFL may be more of a challenge for Burfict. As of now, he simply overpowers anybody who comes to him, but in the NFL players will be much stronger, and he’ll has to learn to properly disengage, rather than just sticking a shoulder in somebody.
Another potential issue with Burfict is taking plays off. If he doesn’t feel that he’s close enough to make a play, he seems to lack hustle. On different occasions, I’ve witnessed a blocker get in his way, and he will stand there and make a poor effort.
Burfict has a rare gift. He’s big, fast, and powerful. He’s been known to make big plays behind the line of scrimmage after seemingly throwing offensive lineman around like rag dolls.
His ability to stuff the run and rush the quarterback make for a devastating combination for the opposition. Teams often game plan against him, although his sideline to sideline ability is unquestionable exceptional.
Unfortunately for Burfict, some of the fouls he makes are often way overblown. He isn’t a dirty player, and he isn’t a bad person. Burfict is simply an aggressive football player who plays to win the game.
Burfict needs a bit of work on his technique overall, but he’s a smart player who makes up for his shy personality off the field when he suits up and demonstrates his first round NFL talent on Saturday’s.
He should be a first round selection regardless of his personal fouls. You can’t teach desire from a motivated athlete. While he may get flagged a few times, he’s going to earn enough money to pay all of those fines after becoming a force in the NFL.
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