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2015 NFL DRAFT
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Joe Burnett

Height: 5-10 | Weight: 192 | College: UCF
 
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Overview

Burnett made headlines since starting as a freshman because of his skills as a cornerback (16 career interceptions, 35 pass breakups) and return man (three punt, two kickoff returns for touchdown). The four-year starter was named first-team All-Conference USA at cornerback and kickoff and punt returner as a senior. A bit smaller and slower than most teams would like in a starter, Burnett is a strong, confident Tampa-2 corner in the making.

Analysis

Positives: Confident and a leader on the field. … Stronger than you'd expect for his size. … Good vertical, able to make a play on jump balls. … Solid hands for the interception and is elusive enough to make yardage after the catch. … Good recovery and closing speed -- is never out of a play. … Nice hand-eye coordination to break up passes. … Quality kickoff and punt returner because he has solid hands, good vision and patience, hits the open lane hard, makes the first man miss and runs through arm tackles.

Negatives: A bit small and light to handle larger NFL receivers, although he has a good lower-body build. … Lacks elite top-end speed. … Not particularly strong on the line and struggles to get off blocks. … Brings pressure as a blitzer but does not finish off the quarterback. … Usually plays off the receiver in order to get cushion on deep routes. … More of a cut tackler, does not wrap up often enough. … Probably best in a zone system with help over the top. … Is not a typical pro punt returner with great speed and quickness.

2008 Season

Burnett was named as an All-American by ESPN.com, Sports Illustrated and the Walter Camp Football Foundation after a record-setting senior year for the Knights. In 2008, Burnett was the only player in the nation to rank in the top 20 of both kickoff and punt returns, ranking seventh in kickoff returns and 10th in punt returns. He led C-USA in both disciplines. With 102.17 yards per game to place 88th, Burnett became just the third player since 2000 to finish the season ranked in the top 100 nationally in all-purpose yardage despite not gaining any of those yards either rushing or receiving. This past fall, Burnett, in his first season as a kickoff returner, ran two back for touchdowns, coming against in-state foes USF and Miami, both of which were ranked at various points in 2008. Burnett completed his extraordinary UCF career as the school's record holder in numerous major categories including career interceptions (16) and punt return yards (1,304). Burnett is the Conference USA career record holder for most punt return yards and ranks 19th in NCAA history in that category. He stands second in C-USA annals with his 16 career interceptions. He scored a total of five career special teams touchdowns including a UCF-record three on punt returns.

Following the season, Burnett was named the Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Year and was also named first-team All-C-USA as a defensive back, punt returner and kick returner, marking the first time that a player has been named to the first team at three different positions. In addition to his stellar performances on the field as a Knight, Burnett received his bachelor's degree in criminal justice in December.

2007 Season

One of five defensive players to start all 14 games during the season … With six interceptions, moved into second place on the UCF career charts bringing his overall total to 12 … Earned first team All-Conference USA honors as a punt returner for the third-consecutive season and first team honors as a defensive back for the second time in his career … Recorded an interception and a tackle for loss in a win at NC State (Sept. 1) … Posted a pick in his second-straight game when he tallied his eighth-career interception in the Texas game (Sept. 15) … Also had three punt returns and placed second on the team with nine tackles (eight solo, one assisted) vs. the Longhorns … Accumulated 76 yards on five punt returns, and also had two solo tackles, including one for a loss of five yards vs. Memphis (Sept. 22) … Registered a team-high seven tackles vs. Louisiana (Sept. 29), while adding a pass break-up in the victory … With his second punt return of the game for 10 yards at East Carolina (Oct. 6), set the UCF career mark for punt return yardage … Finished the ECU game with two returns for 21 yards, while also posting seven tackles and two pass break-ups on defense … Made four tackles and had a pass break-up at USF (Oct. 13) … Totaled 30 yards on three punt returns vs. Tulsa (Oct. 20), and also had five tackles and two pass break-ups in the win … Posted four takedowns at Southern Miss (Oct. 28).

Recorded six solo tackles and a pass break-up vs. Marshall (Nov. 3) … Notched an interception and a 21-yard return at UAB (Nov. 10) … Finished the win over the Blazers with two pass break-ups and three tackles … Moved into second place on the UCF career interception chart with two picks at SMU (Nov. 17) … Also had four punt returns for 34 yards, four tackles and a fumble recovery against the Mustangs … Nabbed an interception for the third-straight game when he notched his sixth of the year vs. UTEP (Nov. 24), which ranked as the second-most in a single season by a Knight … Completed the win over the Miners with two tackles and a pass break-up … Matched his season-high with eight solo tackles and returned a punt 83 yards for a score to help the Knights defeat Tulsa, 44-25, in the C-USA Championship Game (Dec. 1) … It was his second punt return for a score in C-USA Championship play (also 2005) … Posted two tackles in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl vs. Mississippi State (Dec. 29).

2006 Season

Named first team punt returner on the Conference USA Coaches' all-league team … Started eight games at cornerback before injuring his ankle in the Houston game (Oct. 28) … Sat out two games before returning against Tulane (Nov. 18) as a punt returner … Did not start, but saw playing time at cornerback in the season-finale against UAB … Prior to the injury, started at cornerback and punt-returner on opening day … Returned two punts for a total of 12 yards and recorded three solo tackles and one tackle for a loss, while breaking-up one pass and forcing a fumble vs. Villanova (Sept. 2) … At Florida (Sept. 9), led the team in tackles with a career-high 10 takedowns (nine solo, one assist) … Had six tackles and a punt return for 16 yards in the loss to USF (Sept. 16) … Recorded nine tackles, including seven solo, along with returning four punts for a total of 29 yards against Southern Miss (Sept. 26) … Registered seven solo tackles vs. Pitt (Oct. 13) … Returned one kickoff for 31 yards and one punt for 50 yards in the Rice game (Oct. 21) .. Also recorded six tackles against the Owls … Had one assisted tackle at Houston before leaving the game with an ankle injury.

2005 Season

First-team Freshman All-American according to the Football Writers Association of America, Rivals.com, and CollegeFootballNews.com … third-team Freshman All-America selection by The Sporting News … finished with one of the best freshman seasons in UCF history in 2005 … C-USA All-Conference First Team and All-Freshman Team selection … earned first-team defense and special teams honors … the only freshman to earn a spot on the first team … first player in school history to be named a first-team freshman All-American by any media outlet … led C-USA and ranked sixth in the nation in punt returns (16.5) … 26th in the NCAA and second in C-USA in interceptions per game … made collegiate debut at South Carolina (Sept. 1) … two tackles (one solo) vs. the Gamecocks … starter at right cornerback at USF (Sept. 17) … four tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage … returned two punts for 77 yards, including a 60-yard return down to the USF 5-yard line … six tackles (four solo) in 23-13 victory over Marshall (Sept. 24) … three punt returns for 34 yards vs. the Herd.

Seven tackles at Louisiana-Lafayette (Oct. 1) … four tackles and two pass breakups in victory over Memphis (Oct. 8) … two interceptions in 34-24 victory against Tulane (Oct. 21) … picked one pass off in the end zone and deflected another pass into a teammate's hands for one of UCF's four interceptions … both picks came in the fourth quarter to end a Tulane rally … seven tackles and an interception at East Carolina (Oct. 29) … team-leading fourth interception of the season to preserve the win at UAB (Nov. 12) in the fourth quarter … four tackles and career-high three pass breakups vs. the Blazers … another outstanding performance in the win at Rice (Nov. 19) … 58-yard punt return for a touchdown for UCF's first score of the game … the punt return for a TD marked Burnett's first of his career … totaled five tackles and sealed the win with an interception on Rice's final drive of the game with under a minute remaining in the contest … returned the pick 48 yards … in the C-USA title game versus Tulsa (Dec. 3), had a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown … posted seven tackles and had one pass breakup against the Golden Hurricane.

High School

Second team Class 2A defensive back selection … Coached by Steve Moser … Impressive athlete who lettered four years in football and basketball … Nominated for the McDonald's All-America game in basketball … Also earned three letters in track and one in baseball … Second in Florida history with 31 career interceptions … Three-star recruit according to rivals.com … Ranked No. 85 prospect in the state of Florida according to the Orlando Sentinel … First-team all-state selection … Named regional MVP … Earned defensive player of the year honors in both football and basketball during standout career … All-area first-team selection four times … Tallied five interceptions with 78 solo tackles and 24 assists as a senior … Also contributed 689 passing and 874 rushing yards offensively … Productive junior season featured nine interceptions, along with 68 solo tackles and 20 assists … Rushed for 20 touchdowns and 1,300 yards as a junior … 528 kickoff return yards and 340 punt return yards during junior season.

Personal

Burnett is the son of Richard and Tammy Bedford … A criminal justice major.

 
Latest News
04/28/2009 - A closer look at the Steelers' picks: Round 5/168 -- Joe Burnett, CB/KR, 5-9, 194, Central Florida...He too will get a chance to return kickoffs and/or punts for the Steelers. He's been a playmaker in college and he'll get a chance to stick. William Gay, penciled in as the new starting left cornerback, also was a 5-9, fifth-round draft choice by the Steelers.

04/22/2009 - Former UCF standout Kevin Smith got heaps of pre- NFL draft hype last year, but fellow Knights star Joe Burnett hasn't generated nearly as much national buzz. Despite being a lower-profile draft prospect one year after Smith made his jump to the pros, strong offseason workouts could help Burnett get drafted just as quickly as Smith did last season. The Detroit Lions grabbed Smith with the first pick of the third round in last year's draft. Observers project Burnett could go anywhere from the third through fifth rounds in this weekend's draft. "It has always been a dream of mine to try to pursue the next level, and I'm excited about having that opportunity to keep playing," Burnett said after wrapping up a stellar career at UCF. Burnett is the Knights' highest-rated draft prospect because he is a dual threat capable of playing at cornerback and being a return specialist. The 5-foot-9, 195-pound Eustis graduate earned All-America honors for his play as a kickoff and punt-return specialist. He was the only player ranked in the top 10 nationally in both punt (378, 10th) and kick (745, seventh) return yards last season. Burnett owns numerous UCF records, including career interceptions (16) and career punt return yards (1,304). - Iliana Limon, Orlando Sentinel

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