Tag:Dennis Erickson
Posted on: February 27, 2012 5:37 pm
 

Lackluster Combine could push Burfict to Day 3

Arizona State inside linebacker Vontaze Burfict entered the Combine needing to answer questions about his maturity and athleticism. 

He may have failed at both.

Burfict raised more than a few eye-brows when he blamed the ASU coaching staff (which was led by former two-time NFL head coach Dennis Erickson) for his inconsistent play in 2011 during his interview with the media Sunday.

He then proceeded to run slower than any other linebacker tested at the Combine in the 40-yard dash, registering a 5.09 second time that was beaten by 36 of the 48 defensive linemen including 346 pound Dontari Poe. A troubling lack of overall explosion was also shown with a 30" vertical jump, a number beaten by all but two linebackers in Indianapolis. Burfict was tied by Montana's Caleb McSurdy for second to last in the event, beating Southern California's Chris Galippo (29.5") by just half an inch. 

Characterized as an elite talent deserving of first round consideration by some in the media, Burfict is rated as the No. 88 prospect in the draft by NFLDraftScout.com and that may be generous.

Frankly, few teams may be willing to invest anything higher than a Day Three selection in the boom or bust linebacker considering his lackluster performance. 
Posted on: January 3, 2012 4:03 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:40 pm
 

Updated: ASU ILB Burfict declares early for NFL

As expected the past few days have seen a lot of underclassmen news. NFL scouts have to be pleased that virtually every position on the football field has been enhanced with junior talent.

According to multiple reports, Mississippi State defensive lineman Fletcher Cox, Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus, North Carolina State outside linebacker Terrell Manning and a trio from Stanford -- quarterback Andrew Luck, offensive tackle Jonathan Martin and offensive guard David DeCastro have all announced their intentions for the 2011 season to be their last as amatuers.

Add to that list Arizona State inside linebacker Vontaze Burfict -- at least according to his facebook page.

The 6-3, 250 pound Burfict thanked fans and teammates for the memories he's had at Arizona State and wrote that he'll be "expanding [his] talents to the next level."

Burfict erased any doubt about his intentions Tuesday afternoon in releasing a prepared statement. The statement reads:

“After thoughtful and in-depth discussions with my family, I have decided to skip my final year of eligibility at Arizona State University and make myself eligible for the 2012 NFL Draft.  I would like to thank every one of my coaches and professors at ASU.  I plan to return to ASU and get my degree and I will always support the university and its football program.  I cherish the memories and great times I had as a student-athlete at ASU and I hope to make the university proud of my future accomplishments on and off the field.”

Outgoing head coach Dennis Erickson characterized Burfict's junior season as "average." There may not be a more accurate way of putting it.  

While Burfict certainly has the hype and talent to warrant leaving school early, quite frankly he's been a disappointment over the past two seasons.

For a player nationally known as an intimidator, Burfict only registered 69 tackles (including seven for loss) in 2011, along with one interception and one fumble recovery. He was not recognized by Pac-12 coaches as a first, second or even honorable mention player following his junior season. This is quite a drop from Burfict's 2010 season in which he led the team with 90 tackles and earned Second Team accolades. It is an even bigger disappointment considering that in 2009 he was named the Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year.

Burfict is explosive. He can rock ball-carriers in the hole, is particularly adept rushing the quarterback and plays with a ferocity that could quickly make him a fan favorite. As you'll read in our official NFLDraftScout.com profile for Burfict, there are plenty of aspects about his game that translate well to the next level.

However, he has been prone to immature behavior that has cost his team penalties at critical stages of games throughout his career. He's not as instinctive as his reputation might lead you to believe, has a soft build and hasn't shown any real improvement since first stepping onto the ASU campus.

As such, he's currently ranked third in our rankings of inside linebacker prospects.

Quite frankly, I think he's as overrated a prospect as there is in the country. He may prove me wrong. He certainly has talent to do so. However, Burfict won't soon get added to my ranking of the top 32 prospects in the draft. Burfict, in fact, wouldn't make my list if the Big Board contained twice as many players.
Posted on: October 5, 2011 3:40 pm
 

ASU CB Omar Bolden recovered from torn ACL?

Arizona State may get a huge lift soon if senior cornerback Omar Bolden is able to return to the field months ahead of schedule after tearing an ACL during spring workouts.

Bolden, one of only four unanimous all-conference selections last season in the Pac-10, suffered the injury during a scrimmage on Saturday, April 3. He underwent surgery the next week. The normal time-table for recovery of a torn ACL is between 6-12 months. For positions that typically require a great deal of twisting and explosiveness (like cornerback), the recovery can take even longer.

Bolden, however, has been progressing quickly and ASU head coach Dennis Erickson informed the media this week that it now appeared possible that the All Pac-10 cornerback would return soon -- perhaps as soon as the Sun Devils' October 29 game against Colorado.

As exciting as Bolden's return to the field could be, he'd be wise to consider the case of Miami running back Graig Cooper, who played in 2011 despite tearing his ACL in the bowl game the year previous. Cooper clearly wasn't the same player early in 2011 and though he did show improvement as the year went on, he was not drafted. This, after flashing the talent earlier in his career that usually results in a top 100 selection. Cooper ultimately signed with the Philadelphia Eagles after the draft. He did not make the team, however and is not currently on an NFL roster.

Scouts will certainly keep an eye on Bolden's recovery. When healthy, he's proven himself to be one of the country's better cornerbacks and returners. A three-year starter for the Sun Devils, Bolden took his game to another level last season, recording 52 tackles, seven pass breakups and three interceptions. He was earned Second Team all-conference honors as a returner, averaging 29.2 per kickoff return.

Obviously Bolden's medical grade will determine his final draft status. Even with his medical grade unknown, NFLDraftScout.com currently rates him as a middle round prospect and the 9th best senior cornerback prospect in the country.
Posted on: February 22, 2011 5:45 pm
 

Combine Countdown -- DT Lawrence Guy

As we count down the days to the Scouting Combine, I've previewed one prospect at several positions that I believe have a great deal riding on their Combine performances.

Due to the fact that the defensive line is so talented this year, the competition at this position figures to be one of the more compelling story lines of the event. The NFL Network's Mike Mayock recently proclaimed this year's defensive end class to be the best he's ever seen. I believe the defensive tackle is very good, as well, making the entire defensive line group a spectacular collection of talent.

One of the more underrated defensive linemen, in my opinion, is Arizona State's Lawrence Guy . The 6-5, 300 pound Guy has a combination of size, strength and athleticism that few other defensive tackles in this class can rival.

He wasn't helped a great deal with the Sun Devils, who, under Dennis Erickson, are only beginning to get the type of elite athletes he'd used to win a national championship while at Miami. This is one of the reasons why Guy finished with "only" 41 tackles, six tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks last season. Opponents knew the key to controlling the line of scrimmage against ASU was to stop Guy and thus, he was often double teamed.

What makes Guy so intriguing at the next level is that he projects nicely as either a three-technique defensive tackle in the 4-3 or as a five-technique defensive end in the 3-4. That type of scheme and position versatility could make him a Top 100 selection even though the most attention he ever earned from Pac-10 coaches was this year when he was voted an Honorable Mention member of the all-conference team.

As with most underclassmen, the interviews will be important for Guy. He struggled with grades and maturity early on at Arizona State before emerging as one of the team's leaders in 2010.

Guy's athleticism is obvious on tape, but with so many other talented defensive linemen this year, this Sun Devil could easily be characterized as just another "guy," making it all the more imperative that he stand out in workouts to create some buzz for himself.

Posted on: December 2, 2010 5:23 pm
 

Lots of underclassmen to watch tonight in ASU-ARI

For fans who don't have NFL Network but still need their football fix there is a good scouting opportunity tonight at the collegiate level.

On the one hand, Arizona State at Arizona doesn't offer a great deal of senior talent. The Wildcats' pass rushing duo of Brooks Reed (6-3, 262) and Ricky Elmore (6-5, 260) are the only seniors in this game that I believe are surefire NFL draft selections at this time.

There is, however, a great deal of underclassmen talent on these two sidelines.

Most of the attention will, of course, be heaped upon Arizona junior quarterback Nick Foles. While I have reservations about Foles' downfield passing ability, there is no denying the 6-5, 245 pound quarterback has the ideal stature pro scouts are looking for.

The Wildcats also boast one of the better young cornerbacks in the Pac-10 in 5-11 182 pound Trevin Wade.

Perhaps to the surprise of some, the more intriguing talent (at least in my opinion) actually lies with the unranked Sun Devils.

Dennis Erickson has fielded a talented young defense in Tempe. Defensive tackle Lawrence Guy (6-5, 300) and cornerback Omar Bolden (5-10, 195) may lack for name recognition outside of the Pac-10, but each is a legitimate pro talent. Scouts expect each of the two juniors to at least consider leaving school early due to the marginal talent at their positions among the senior class.

The Sun Devils also feature one of the more explosive inside linebacker prospects in the country in sophomore Vontaze Burfict. The 6-3, 245 pounder is a natural playmaker with the size and athleticism that NFL teams are looking for, but he's struggled with composure throughout his career, drawing personal fouls in several games and often at the worst possible times for Erickson's team.

This game begins at 8:00 pm EST and will be televised by ESPN. 


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com