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.
Mike Mayock not a Vontaze Burfict fan: lacks instincts, runs around blocks, gets enveloped by bigger people. then factor in other issues
— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) February 15, 2012
Mayock said he watched a lot of tape on Burfict recently and "came away unimpressed." "From my perspective, I don't see first round at all." — ASUDevils.com (@ASUDevilscom) February 15, 2012
Those aren't words you want said about your football talents when you've just declared pro.
I could have saved Mike Mayock the trouble of watching Burfict tape from the 2011 season.He didn't ask.— Vince Marotta (@Vincemarotta) February 15, 2012
Vince from Arizona Sports lays down a zinger.
Mike Mayock's comments aren't earth-shattering. All the things he said plagued ASU for 3 seasons.— Bold Saguaros (@BoldSaguaros) February 15, 2012
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.