Vontaze Burfict: Draft me and you get a great middle linebacker

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With the NFL draft starting in six days, Vontaze Burfict knows he needs to change perceptions about him.

Burfict, the former Arizona State linebacker who struggled at the Combine, bombed his Pro Day, wasn’t invited to visit any teams and was described as “non-draftable,” has given an interview to Sports Illustrated in which he insists he has what it takes to be a tremendous NFL player.

“Whoever picks me in the draft,” Burfict said, “is going to have a great middle linebacker.”

The Sports Illustrated story about Burfict opens with the news that he was spending the day in Las Vegas, and frankly, it wasn’t very smart of Burfict and whoever is advising him these days to have him conduct his interview from a Las Vegas hotel room. There’s nothing wrong with a guy taking a vacation in Las Vegas, but if Burfict is giving interviews in an attempt to change public perceptions about him, he ought to allow some reporters to come join him when he’s busting his butt in the gym, not calling reporters up in between playing blackjack and walking the Strip.

The criticisms of Burfict include his slow 40 times and his hot temper. Burfict says that while it’s true he has some anger issues, he thinks he’s misunderstood.

“[P]eople think I have a bad attitude because of the personal fouls on the field, or I ran a slow 40 at the Combine,” he said. “I’m just real competitive, and I hate to lose. Because of the position I play … you have to have some emotions running through your head. When I’m on the field, I play with anger and aggression; just want to hit somebody. Certain people think, He’s probably like that off the field. I’ve never been arrested, never been pulled over for anything. I wish that all 32 teams could just chill with me for a day and see what kind of person I am off the field. I’m soft-spoken and shy. I’m a laid-back guy.”

It’s too late for Burfict to chill with an NFL team before the draft. But it’s not too late for him to prove that he can be a great middle linebacker. Probably by catching on somewhere as an undrafted free agent.

86 responses to “Vontaze Burfict: Draft me and you get a great middle linebacker

  1. I am curious where this guy will be in a few years… I think he’s worth a late round pick (maybe 5th round or later) – high risk but possible high reward

  2. Chillin in Vegas…parlaying before the draft. Mama is bringing the whole crew out the hood to celebrate her “baby” getting drafted. That’s how we roll in Southern Cal.

  3. I would never spend anything but a 6th or 7th round pick on this guy, but he seems like a near exact clone of Bryan Cox. Cox was a very effective LB, and solid leader for a number of years. He did get out of hand at times, but overall he had a pretty good career. This guy might not ever be as good, maybe not even close, but I think that a 7th round pick is worth it even for say a 30% chance of ending up with a guy like that.

  4. “Just chill with me” is NOT the kind of phrasing coaches want to hear. And from Vegas? Wow. What an idiot.

    He’s still worth a 6th/7th round gamble, but whomever drafts him should assume the odds are higher the pick is just being wasted than not. All VB did at ASU was chase the ball carrier. He shows no real technique, and appears to have little understanding of where the offense is going based on formation.

    Honestly, has there been a WORSE coached team in the last 20 years than the shoddy job by Erickson and his minions? They sent that poor team out to face Boise State utterly unprepared. It was shameful. You have to wonder if Vontaze would have responded to any real effort, and if–just maybe–a coach that cares could turn him around.

    Erickson should never be allowed to coach again.

  5. Navarro Bowman had similar red flags against him. He was always getting in trouble kept getting suspended.

    Got drafted much later than his talent should have had him drop and he was a steal for the 49ers.

    If Burfict gets picked up by the right team (Pittsburgh, Baltimore, SF) that has a veteran core there to bring him in and get him calmed down a bit he could be a steal.

  6. I feel that Mayock’s critique of Burfict was way to harsh and unwarranted. This guy has created his own mess and will suffer the consquences on draft day. There was no need to kick this guy when he is down. We all knew he would struggle to be drafted and Mayock went above and beyond the call of duty while ragging on this guy.

  7. I don’t see why this guy won’t get a team to take him with a late round pick. I understand the slow 40 time but I haven’t heard any issues with his game film. His stats this year were not as good as 2010 but they weren’t horrible…69 tackles, 40 solo, 7 for loss, 1 int, 5 sacks. as far as anger issues…if he hasn’t had any off the field issues and doesn’t get in a situation to get suspended…it’s a non-issue. If he channels it on the field than he could be a surprise.

  8. Raiders should take him. Guy could be great, or at least a Bryan Cox type LB. He may be a bit flaky, but I don’t care. Guy can hit and shows flashes of greatness. Up to the coaches to get it out of him.

  9. idk about u guys but all night gambling and fighting off hookers for hours is a pretty good work out… prbably what this guy is used to doing to prep every offseason to to play at asu… have u seen those girls?

  10. I still say the guy is gone by the end of the forth round.

    He was projected as a first round pick of the Ravens on many mock drafts only a few weeks ago.

    He’s made some questionable decisions but you don’t fall completely out of the draft after a couple poor days working out in shorts.

  11. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I’d take the aggression, just to put some passion in my team. Would take this guy as an UDFA in a heartbeat.

  12. Seriously, the guy has the ability to be a beast. He is definitely one of the more violent college linebackers that I can remember, he just needs to get his head on straight. If he does and he plays with a chip on his shoulder to prove people wrong, he could be a steal with a late round pick. If he doesn’t pan out, cut him. Low risk, high reward.

  13. “draft me and you’ll get a great middle linebacker.” Why is he part of a two for one? Draft a Great MLB get a second of equal or lesser value (burfict is definitely lesser!) free?

  14. he’s non-draftable… bombed the combine… cant play… cnat read zero… wasnt invited to the reindeer games….

    10 to 1 says he still does better than Vernon Gholston

  15. If he is there in the 5th round, and of course he will be, he then becomes worth a shot. That’s where you take risks on guys like Burfict. I saw every game he played (I am ASU alum) and saw him at his best and his worst. If my team the Eagles can draft T’eo Nesheim in the third round as a project (who was quickly revealed to be a bust) then a 5th rounder on Burfict is worth it. Matt Barkley hates Burfict but is scared to death of him. That goes back to high school. I’d love to see Romo, Manning, and RGIII learn to hate him.

  16. If this guy is around during the compensation picks in the sixth, Sexy Rexy will be taking him without a doubt. If Rex Ryan doesn’t think he can coach this kid up, no one will think that. As a Jets fan, I can’t think of anything better than another personality and knuckleheaded character :facepalm:

  17. In fairness though, you can’t call him a workout warrior. And unlike Vernon Gholston, the guy has an evil streak. Definite killer instinct, but maybe misunderstood. I always liked him really, thought he was exciting. I understand the drop in stock, but really he’ll either be one of the steals of the draft or will flake out of the league, but as a fifth or later pick, that shouldn’t be shocking if it were to happen. He’ll get drafted though. Dudes got some talent.

  18. I bet he’s off the board by round 4, no later than 5. Ravens will get him. Book it. I’ve been to the future, I’ve seen the Brooklyn Bridge fall, monster robots.

  19. What’s he suppose to say “draft me and you’ll get a lazy and worthless player who is a lockerroom cancer”?

  20. Burfict will probably be serving a prison sentence in a couple of years. The guy simply doesn’t get it.

  21. You know, for as bad that his stock has fallen in the last 12 months, I would still use a late round pick on him just because of the above picture.

  22. I do a ton of job interviews. The thing that always worries me is that when someone is trying to get a job and make a great first impression when money is on the line, they should get their act together. They should dress nicely, be on time, shave, etc….If they aren’t capable of doing it then…. what makes you think they will do so in the future?

    If you stand to make $10-15 mil more as a first round pick then you do as a 6th rounder, and you can’t hit the gym, say the right things (or be coached to) and turn yourself into the “ideal” prospect for a team…. what incentive will you EVER have to do so? Its not like his workouts or interviews are pop quizzes…the dates are scheduled.

    Same thing goes for guys who test positive for drugs at the combine… you knew it was coming, and you couldn’t clean up your act for a couple of months when a TON of money is on the line?

    I hope the kid makes sense of it for his sake…. but I wouldn’t touch him with a 10-foot pole if I was an NFL GM.

  23. I think it’s Amazing how the media portrays a guy as a bad person to the public and these ignorant and gullible “Aholes” believe every thing they read or hear. Even if they have never met the person. Mike Mayock started this mess and he is a terrible judge of character and talent, What he said about Cam Newton last year proved that!! You dummies keep right ahead being followers and I’ll sit back and watch what this young man can do once he’s on the field! Any one who plays with that much anger and passion is a great player to have on defense. I for one hope he gets drafted and prove all you ignorant hating followers wrong!

  24. You know who is great at coaching up young LB’s……… mr john fox and jack del rio. Bring him to Denver in a year or so he should be starting in place of Joe mis tackles Mays

  25. As a Redskin’s fan, I think we should take a flyer on this guy in the 6th or 7th round, let Fletcher groom him for the last two years of his career. I like the way Perry Riley is coming along, and given Orakpo, Kerrigan, Riley, if Burfict were to pan out, you’d have a solid set of LB’s.

  26. If he played OLB (especially in a 3-4), he might be worth a 6th or 7th pick just to avoid competing with teams on the UFA path.

    But you want to stick a mic on a guy like that?

    For every clip of him going bonkers on someone, there is a clip of him looking terrible in coverage.

  27. Oooo, las vegas, that should scare every team away. Wow… They do things like gamble there which is very very bad to do.i think they should stop doing the coin Toss because that is actually gambling as well, one team winning the coin toss based on luck. This could influence children to start flipping coins.

  28. You guys keep thinking that, mike mayock said two years ago that clausin was the most nfl ready qb he’s seen in years! He dnt know jack, this kid could be the marqees coleston of defense, draft wise. Someone will take a chance on him.

  29. Lions should grab him ,we need a mlb ,all you people talk crap about this kid like he banged your gf but none of you are getting drafted next week .who ever gets him will get a steal ,combine has proven to be nothing.!!what you do on the field counts !! Not how many reps you do they don’t lift weights on the sidelines .

  30. I just pulled up 3 different highlight reals for this guy and I have to say, WTF!! “Undraftable”?!?!? What I see is a MLB who fills the gap in a hurry and demonstrates form fit tackling the majority of the time! Those instances in which he couldn’t square up on a guy, he took great angles to get to the point of contact and seems to be real effective at making open field tackles with only a small piece to grab on to (shoestring & ankle tackles).. The guy was an all American for crying out loud!!

    Now I agree that he has cost himself quite a bit of $$ by not working as hard as the other draftees at recording good times for his pro day. But I think we all realize that there is no 40 yard dash in a game of football.. I would venture to guess that if he has always had a slightly slower 40, that is likely the reason that he seems to take such great angles to the ball! All I know is that there are guys in the league who contantly make tackles 3 to 5 yards past the line of scrimmage (i.e. Barrett Ruud) this guy sticks his nose up in there & makes tackles on the other side of the line!! He might be a mismatch in coverage but we don’t know that based on his shuttle or 40 time alone, there’s sprinter’s speed & there’s football speed, Burfict only has one of the two! This Guy Is Gonna Be A Pretty Good Player For Someone, if he has veteran LBs around him to help him become a professional, he’s got the ability to succeed!! Wouldn’t mind seeing him as a Bear next season!!

  31. How does this guy go from being projected as a middle to late 1st rounder to being lucky if he’s signed after the draft? Doesn’t make sense

  32. People over think football scouts in particular if a guy can play he can play, what changed from he can be a for sure first round pick to know he’s undraftable I truly believe whom ever gets this guy is going to get a stud, forget about work outs and interviews the ultimate interview is the field him reading and tackling people, look at the Kuechley kid he’s projected as a first round pick but if you look at the tape he’s an average athlete with pedestrian skills most of his tackles came after the runner gained significant yardage as for Donta Hightower in which they have going in the second round is a way better athlete and a more well rounded linebacker who can play outside backer or inside backer in any scheme and he can also rush the passer look at tape and not field work and you’ll find the real ballers…

  33. I think its BS that these so called ‘mock analysts” are not called out on their BS mock drafts and profiles of these young men. Does Ryan Leaf ring a bell? Everyone was raving about this kid and now look at him. Did anybody pick Aldon Smith to go so high in the first? Not one mock draft had Aldon Smith that high but yet none of these Mayocks are called out. I think Mayock is an idiot actually. Everytime I watch NFL network and they show his “resume”, there is nothing there! How is this guy an expert??? LOL

    Anyway, that was my rant but I think the Lions should take a gamble on this kid in the 6 or 7th round if he is still available. We are a fiesty team already but slowly controlling our aggression… just perfect for this kid! Draft him Mayhew!

  34. This year’s version of Blount? There’s got to be a team waiting in the weeds to pounce on this guy. Only when the round is right. He’ll fit right in on an already aggressive defense, and should be a heck of a special teams player as well.

  35. I’d take him in the 6th or 7th just for the potential. Tell him Day One, one wrong move and you’re gone. You might get a leader — never know

  36. Wait…you ran a slow 40 time because you are just very competitive?

    Is that why you showed up at the combine and pro day out of shape? Cause you are so competitive?

    I can’t wait to see how competitive you are when you get to training camp. sheesh.

    This guy is the Jamarcus Russell of Linebackers.

  37. This guy can’t handle ‘success’. He hasn’t had much of it, but he’s showing everyone he’s at the finish line and wants to celebrate.

    Clearly doesn’t know he’s at the starting line… and about to be left behind.

  38. Vantaze is letting ESPN cameras follow him around on draft day preparing for the NFL at the Make You So Happy Resort in Phuket.

  39. I’d spend my second 7th round pick on him. I have no problem seeing how determined he is for a cheap price.

  40. The Pack can afford to draft him in the late rounds having 12 picks this year. Hey he either makes it or he doesn’t. That goes for a lot of draft picks who get cut. Its put up or shut up.

  41. The people criticizing the Burfict attackers are a joke. Prob never saw him play. I’m an ASU alum and booster and thrilled to be rid of him. Fistfights w teammates, benched for personal fouls then stood on sideline ignoring the game while laughing and waving at friends in the crowd, never made plays, slow, can’t tackle, overweight, not very athletic (see: combine), no discipline . . . he’s a waste of a pick. There were 6 or 7 better Sun Devil defenders last season on a bad defense. Enjoy.

  42. Nobody is Burfict. I would live to see him drafted by the Jets, and ESPN interviews Tebow: ” he who has never sinned may cast the first stone”.

  43. teamgoku says: Apr 20, 2012 11:33 PM

    You know who is great at coaching up young LB’s……… mr john fox and jack del rio. Bring him to Denver in a year or so he should be starting in place of Joe mis tackles Mays.

    Seriously? I’m not a Denver fan by any means, but Mays doesn’t deserve that.

  44. This guy can be a stud the patriots should pick him because they can make his off the field problems go away they did it with Ryan Mallet, you didn’t hear anything about Mallet, they always do a good job on making players keep quiet and put them on the right path, they should spend their last pick on him because they can turn him around and not a bad guy

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