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2015 NFL DRAFT
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Brandon Burton

| | College: Utah
 
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Overview

Utah is one of several programs outside the major conferences that are starting to make recruiting in-roads in Texas. The Utes' signing of Burton is a prime example of their finding talent under the noses of the Longhorns, Aggies and Cougars. However, the Houston native decided three years in Salt Lake City was enough, leaving early to try his hand (and legs) at a pro career.

After playing on special teams (two tackles) while buried behind future second-round pick Sean Smith and others on the depth chart as redshirt freshman in 2008, Burton has been a very good starter the past two years. He broke up 10 passes and intercepted one other in 2009, making 47 tackles, including four for loss. Burton picked off two passes and deflected eight more in his second-team All-Mountain West junior year, making 51 tackles and blocking two kicks -- including a game-saving blocked field goal against rival BYU.

Burton's speed, quick feet and length are appreciated by NFL scouts, though they realize he will need to work with coaches on his footwork, hands for the interception and open-field tackling. Given the importance of the cornerback position, teams may be willing to bet a top 50 pick on his potential.

Analysis

Read & React: Flies to the ball once recognizing where the it's going, exciting defensive coordinators playing a lot of zone. Tends to react a step late on out-cuts and comebacks when in man due to sloppy footwork. Needs coaching on how to read receivers off the line and anticipate routes.

Man Coverage: Scouts appreciate his quick feet on the edge in man, as he can turn and run with any receiver down the sideline. Good jitterbug backward from the snap to wait for receiver to make his move. Fluid enough to mirror routes. Likes to guess, however, which allows receivers to get inside position after a fake outside. Has the size to handle NFL receivers and is willing to lay his hands on them (officials believe he gets too grabby at times). Knocks away jump balls with above-average height and vertical, but needs more want-to in battling situations even against smaller receivers. Stays too high in his backpedal, limiting his change of direction ability.

Zone Coverage: Looks like a press corner but understands zone concepts and could excel in the right scheme. Comes off initial read to follow underneath route. Had communication issues with safeties at times, allowing plays down the seam. Good hand-eye coordination and closing speed to break up throws, but only adequate hands for the interception. Flashes the ability to knock away passes, but needs to find the ball in the air more regularly.

Closing/Recovery: Owns plenty of closing and recovery speed to earn playing time at the next level. Flies to shallow routes, even if in man coverage on another receiver. Recovers quickly enough to trail effectively over the middle or catch up to receivers downfield if beaten off the line. Wastes his speed at times by taking false steps transitioning forward from his pedal.

Run Support: Knows his assignments when attacking runs or quick screens. Forces plays inside, and can shed blocks to get to the ball. Should be more effective in this area given his size and strength. Does try to use his hands to defeat blocks, but is too easily held off plays by receivers giving up significant size. Does not feel lineman coming into his area, gets put on the ground.

Tackling: Usually uses his size, arm span and strength to bring down receivers immediately after the catch. Stops his feet after contact at times when tackling in the open field, allowing ballcarriers to run through his attempt. Resorts to cut tackles when unnecessary but is generally effective at taking out the legs of the ballcarrier. Does not defeat cut blocks with his hands. Gives some effort as a chaser downfield but could do more.

Intangibles: Took a leadership role with several players lost to graduation in 2009. Vocal on the field, letting young teammates know about miscommunications in the secondary and never backing down from an opponent's challenge. Seems to bounce back well after giving up a play.

2010 Season

Second-team all-MWC … started all 13 games at cornerback … led Utah and ranked tied for fifth in the league with eight pass breakups … two interceptions was tied for ninth in the MWC … sixth in the league in passes defended (10) … 51 tackles with one TFL … career-high seven tackles with an interception against San Diego State … six tackles included a TFL vs. Wyoming … had a 57-yard interception against Iowa State and forced a fumble at Air Force … season-high three pass breakups against BYU … MWC Special Teams Player of the Week on Nov. 29 after blocking a 42-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the BYU game to preserve a one-point victory … also blocked a field goal against Boise State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.

2009 Season

Played in 13 games with 12 starts (Utah started four linebackers against Air Force) … led Utah and tied for second in the league in pass breakups (10) … tied for fourth in the MWC in passes defended average (0.85) … 47 tackles with 4.0 TFL and a sack … four tackles--2.0 for a loss--and a pass breakup in Utah's Poinsettia Bowl victory over California … had an interception with four tackles against New Mexico … season-high six tackles against Colorado State and UNLV … three tackles with a 6-yard sack against Oregon … two punt returns for seven yards (3.5 average).

2008 Season

Played in 11 games, primarily on special teams … made two tackles against Weber State … solo tackle against Wyoming.

2007 Season

Redshirt … made the Athletic Director's Honor Roll.

High School

All-district as a return specialist his sophomore, junior and senior years … all-district as a cornerback his junior and senior seasons … 11 career interceptions … 10 returns for touchdowns … Clear Creek High School (Texas) two-time captain and 2005 Defensive Player of the Year … also lettered in track … district 200 meter champion (21.3) as a junior … qualified for the Junior Olympics in the 200 meters.

Personal

Son of Mark and Shawn Burton … father is an engineer and mother is a doctor … sister Ashley … enjoys golf and cooking … born July 31, 1989 in Germany.

 
Latest News
04/04/2011 - Utah Pro day: Defensive back Brandon Burton and a trio of linemen took center stage at Utah's pro day on Tuesday. Representatives from 20 NFL teams were present for the indoor sessions on FieldTurf. Four assistant coaches, including three offensive line coaches ??? Bill Callahan of the New York Jets, Dante Scarnecchia from the New England Patriots and Pat Ruel from the Seattle Seahawks ??? and Pittsburgh Steelers offensive assistant Harold Goodwin were in attendance. Burton (5-11 3/4, 188) re-ran his 40 (4.58, 4.50) and did a positional workout, but stood on the rest of his combine numbers. Burton also had a workout with Cleveland Browns defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson on Wednesday. - Gil Brandt, NFL.com

  • Full *Brandon Burton News Wire
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