Vontaze Burfict: Draft Stock, Instincts Questioned By Mike Mayock

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 09: Linebacker Vontaze Burfict #7 of the Arizona State Sun Devils warms up before the college football game against the Missouri Tigers at Sun Devil Stadium on September 9, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Vontaze Burfict has long been respected across the NFL scouting ranks for his hard hits and his tenacious playmaking ability.

While last season was a real struggle, Burfict has generally performed well as a member of the Arizona State Sun Devils. That's what makes last year so hard to understand: not only did his play suffer, but he didn't seem to be engaged in the game or connected to the importance of each individual moment.

Burfict was self-involved and didn't appear to care about anything but his statistics and how much money he'd make once he got to the pros. The act wore thin in Tempe and it's finally being noticed by the guys you want to impress: NFL scouts.

To that end, it's no surprise that the NFL Network's Mike Mayock has come away from the tape unimpressed with Burfict, dropping him off his pre-combine top five list at the linebacker position.

1. Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
2. Luke Kuechly, Boston College
3. Dont'a Hightower, Alabama
4. Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma
5. Sean Spence, Miami (Fla.)

New entries: Lewis, Spence
Out: North Carolina's Zach Brown, Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict

On a conference call this afternoon, Mayock went into detail on why Burfict's stock is slipping in his standings. Lets see what Twitter has to say.

Those aren't words you want said about your football talents when you've just declared pro.

Vince from Arizona Sports lays down a zinger.

Well, it seems like everyone is in agreement. Vontaze Burfict needs his attitude checked and he also needs to work on coverage schemes, masking his responsibilities and making better split-second decisions. Until that time comes, he's just going to be a liability for a defense on the professional level.

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