Tag:Vontaze Burfict
Posted on: February 29, 2012 1:03 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 1:06 pm
 

Combine Wrap: RG3, Poe riding wave into Pro Days

INDIANAPOLIS - More than 325 of the best draft prospects from across the nation descended upon Indianapolis in waves over the past week in search of that sizzling 40-yard dash, that superhuman bench press or a kangaroo-like vertical jump.

Scouts and armchair personnel evaluators now have thousands of data points to crunch into Excel sheets and obsess over into the wee hours of the night. But what is the tangible impact at the end of the day?

The vast majority of the workout numbers aren't really meaningful. NFL front offices aren't concerned about all the numbers in the middle of the pack. They're interested primarily in the extremes - the unofficial 4.33-second 40-yard thrown down by Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson, the 44 bench reps hoisted by Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe and the all-around poor workout numbers put up by Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

Those are the performances that stick out and affect draft stocks.

Even more important were the on-field position drills and the private interviews with teams. That's where prospects can really make an impression with their aptitude and personality. It all gets thrown into a big melting pot along with their game film and other pre-draft events to create an overall body of work.

Heading into the elongated final pre-draft stretch that is the Pro Day season, here are the prospects who helped themselves the most at the Scouting Combine - and those who have some serious ground to make up between now and April 26.

RISERS
Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: He didn't throw a pass at the Combine, but "RG3" was unquestionably the biggest star of the week. He measured in at 6-2, displayed a magnetic personality, ran the 40 faster than most of the wide receivers, running backs and cornerbacks in attendance ... and set the Rams up to restock their roster with the bounty they will inevitably land by dealing the No. 2 overall pick.

Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech: With several other notable wide receivers measuring in shorter or slower than expected, the 6-4, 215-pound Hill tied for the fastest time in the 40-yard dash (4.36) among all skill-position players, drawing comparisons to former Yellow Jacket teammate Demaryius Thomas, a first-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2010.

Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College: Scouts chalked up Kuechly's staggering NCAA-record tackle numbers to instincts and reliable open-field tackling ability. But in posting a blistering 4.58-second time in the 40-yard dash and a 38-inch vertical, the 2011 Butkus Award winner proved he's a first-round caliber athlete who has the potential to be a three-down player capable of holding his own against athletic tight ends in coverage.

Chris Owusu, WR, Stanford: The most important tests at the Combine for Owusu were of the medical variety after his collegiate career was cut short by a series of frightening concussions. NFL teams won't get these results for a few weeks, but you can be sure they'll be checking them closely after the Stanford product proved among the fastest (4.36 seconds) and most explosive (40.5-inch vertical jump) of all the receivers tested.

Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis: No defensive lineman at the Combine showed a more exciting combination of size (6-4, 346), speed (4.98) and strength (44 reps on the 225-pound bench press, a 2012 Combine best) than Poe. Teams fully acknowledge he's raw, but one of them will gladly invest a first-round pick in his upside.

Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida: The underclassman entered the Combine a projected fourth-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com. Combine the 4.33 40 with a DB-best 133-inch broad jump and a 38-inch vertical and he's poised to surge leading up to the draft.

David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech: He posted the elite agility test numbers that everyone expected. But it was showing up to team interviews in a suit and tie that really caught the attention of teams. He reportedly wore a suit to class at Virginia Tech. In an NFL draft world where the competition is so tight, a seemingly small detail like that could be enough in a tight battle with Miami's Lamar Miller to be the No. 2 running back drafted.

FALLERS
Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas: At only 5-11, 179 pounds, he is a finesse receiver who relies on his agility and straight-line speed to get open. Expected to be one of the fastest players at any position tested this year, Adams' 4.55-second showing in the 40-yard dash suggests that Arkansas' spread offense inflated his big-play ability. 

Michael Brockers, DT, LSU: The underclassmen entered the Combine with as much buzz as any defensive player. Viewed as a playmaking interior lineman and ascending talent, he increased expectations by showing up with an extra few pounds he claimed was muscle mass that didn't affect his speed. But his pro day will be critical after poor workout numbers  that included an alarmingly-slow 5.36 40 - third-worst among all defensive linemen - a 26.5-inch vertical, a 105-inch broad jump and a 4.81-second short shuttle.

Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State: After characterizing himself as misunderstood, Burfict raised more than few eyebrows during interviews with the media by blaming the ASU coaching staff for his erratic play in 2011. He then proved much less athletic in drills than scouts had hoped, registering a 5.09 40 that finished dead last among linebackers tested in Indianapolis this year. 

Nick Foles, QB, Arizona: With the top-rated quarterbacks either unwilling or unable to throw at the Combine, scouts had hoped that the 6-5, 243-pound Foles would take advantage of the extra attention to put on a dazzling throwing performance. Instead, Foles' methodical delivery, slow feet and inaccuracy on deep passes could push him into Day Three (rounds 4-7) territory.

Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin: Regarded as the top center prospect in the draft entering the Combine, Konz surprised scouts with less than ideal strength (18 repetitions of 225 pounds). If he were to be drafted in the first round, it would be the first interior lineman with less than 20 repetitions to earn this distinction in the past five years.

Markus Zusevics, OT, Iowa: By tearing his pectoral muscle while performing in the bench press in front of scouts, Zusevics' stock could fall further than any other prospect tested at the Combine. The injury not only ended his Combine experience early, it puts into question his availability to play as a rookie.

Now it's on to the flurry of the Pro Day season, which kicks off at Missouri on Thursday and includes dozens of workouts across the country, culminating with McNeese State on April 6.

TOP COMBINE RESULTS
40-Yard dash (Unofficial)
1. Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida - 4.33
2. Travis Benjamin, WR, Miami - 4.36
    Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech - 4.36
    Chris Owusu, WR, Stanford - 4.36
5. Ron Brooks, CB, LSU - 4.37

225-POUND BENCH PRESS
1. Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis - 44
2. David Molk, OL, Michigan - 41
3. Loni Fangupo, DL, BYU - 36
    Ronnell Lewis, DE/OLB, Oklahoma - 36
    Mike Martin, DL, Michigan
    Kendall Reyes, DL, UConn - 36

VERTICAL JUMP
1. Kashif Moore, WR, UConn - 43.5
2. Jerrell Jackson, WR, Missouri - 41.0
    David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech - 41.0
4. Chris Owusu, WR, Stanford - 40.5
5. Justin Bethel, CB, Presbyterian - 39.5
    Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech - 39.5
    Mychal Kendricks, LB, Cal - 39.5
    Keshawn Martin, WR, Michigan St. - 39.5

BROAD JUMP
1. Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech - 133.0
2. Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida - 133.0
    David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech - 132.0
4. Justin Bethel, CB, Presbyterian - 131.0
    Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri - 131.0

3-CONE DRILL
1. Chris Rainey, RB, Florida - 6.50
2. Josh Robinson, CB, Central Florida - 6.55
3. Terrence Frederick, CB, Texas A&M - 6.59
    Junior Hemingway, WR, Michigan - 6.59
5. Cody Sensabaugh, CB, Clemson - 6.60

--Derek Harper & Rob Rang contributed to this report.

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: February 26, 2012 12:40 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 1:09 pm
 

Burfict says he's best LB; coaches "messed me up"

Every prospect with some skeletons in the closet is coached up by his agent to make a strong PR move at the Combine. Former Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins admitted the last time he smoked marijuana, for example, as part of an extremely forthright media session Sunday.

Arizona State LB Vontaze Burfict was laid back and very "Yes sir, no sir," although he wasn't exactly apologetic about his penchant for penalties on the field and issues with the Sun Devils coaching staff off it.

"I'm a soft-spoken guy, shy," he said. "But when I'm on the field I hate to lose and that aggression comes out."

Burfict's ASU's career was marred by a slew of personal foul penalties that hurt his draft stock. He also had an altercation in the locker room with a teammate - he said it began with an argument in a 7-on-7 drill - and he left school a year early after a very strained relationship with former ASU coach Dennis Erickson's staff.

Burfict is the No. 3-ranked inside linebacker by NFLDraftScout.com and the No. 88 prospect overall. He'll need to convince scouts that he is an impact player who can control his aggression to avoid slipping into the third or fourth round.

"I just know I'm the best linebacker in this draft," said Burfict, who added that he patterns his game after the Ravens' Ray Lewis and the Bills' Nick Barnett.

Burfict said he is down to 248 pounds after playing last season at 260, but he wasn't about to absolve the coaching staff for its role in his disappointing 2011 season.
 
"The coaches kind of messed me up. I didn’t know if I would start a game or be benched," he said. "It hurt me, but I tried to fight through it."

 
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: December 8, 2010 12:32 pm
 

Disagree with my Top 32? Here's my next 5

As you can imagine, I spent a great deal of time poring over tape and conversing with scouts before releasing my Top 32 Pro Prospects regardless of their draft class.

Some of who may be wondering why there is no Jake Locker (Washington QB) or Michael Floyd (Notre Dame WR) or Janoris Jenkins (Florida CB) on the list. Did I forget them or simply rank others ahead of them?

The quick answer is that I considered everyone but there were some tough cuts to the list. Here are the next 5 players that just missed out. Some were even among my original Top 32 but were late cuts due to questions about their size or readiness for the pros. 

33. ILB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State: Burfict, only a true sophomore, just missed out on my original Top 32 article. Fans across the country may not know him or only know him due to his penchant for picking up personal fouls at the worst possible times, but in my opinion Dennis Erickson has the most explosive inside linebacker in the country and a future 1st round pick.

34. OT Tyron Smith, Southern Cal: Considering that all 24 of his career starts have come at right tackle and that his lanky frame (6-5, 285) and quick feet make him better suited on the left side, I am not among those who feel Smith should leave after this, his junior season. There is no denying Smith's upside, however, which is why I was included him in my latest projection of the 2011 first round.

35. OG Rodney Hudson, Florida State: The Seminoles' senior left guard - and my choice for the 2010 Outland Trophy - is among the better guard prospects I've scouted due to extraordinary balance and footwork. The problem is, at only 6-2, 284 pounds, he's so much smaller than most he's going to struggle against the behemoth DTs in the NFL. If correctly placed in a zone-blocking scheme, however, I have no doubt his agility will make up for it.

36. RB Michael Dyer, Auburn: South Carolina true freshman Marcus Lattimore made my Top 32, but Dyer, also in the class of 2014, isn't far behind. While I love Lattimore's physicality, Dyer could ultimately emerge as the better pro prospect because his agility and compact frame make him less likely to absorb the same punishment as the Gamecocks' star. His stats (950 rushing yards, 5 TDs) don't do him justice. This kid is a future superstar.

37. DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State : Paea was on my original list, but the 2010 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year slipped amid concerns about his size (6-1, 312) and ability to pressure the passer. I love his strength inside and feel he can make an immediate impact in the pros. Considering he only played one season of football in high school, there is still a lot of upside here.


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