There may be no player in the nation under more pre-draft scrutiny than Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
His fall from the consensus preseason Defensive Player of the Year to a young man draped in red flags was the most symbolic representation of the ASU football program under Dennis Erickson, and a tremendous waste of his immense natural talent.
Needless to say, his performance at the NFL Scouting Combine was critical, as the once surefire first round pick was now staring at a third or fourth round grade on many boards. On Sunday, he gave an interview to the media that bordered on delusional, showing that mentally, he still has a long way to go.
On Monday, the linebacker group took to the turf for the Combine events. Here's how Burfict made out in Indianapolis.
Size: After playing last season noticeably out of shape at 260 pounds, Burfict weighed in at a slimmer 248 and measured 6'1". That is a great size for a middle linebacker, but his commitment to conditioning to maintain those numbers will remain a serious question.
40-Yard Dash: This was a complete disaster. Burfict ran a plodding 5.09 official time, which made him the slowest linebacker by over one-tenth of a second. Even trimmed down at 248 pounds, the explosiveness that highlighted his first two seasons was no where to be found.
Bench Press: There had been rumors that Burfict's strength had also fallen off dramatically, and after he elected to skip the bench press at the Combine, those rumors only gained strength. He will need a very impressive showing over the next two months to silence his mounting critics.
Vertical Leap: Burfict did very poorly, posting just a 30-inch leap, which was tied for the second lowest height among linebackers, besting only USC's Chris Galippo.
Broad Jump: In a test of lower body explosiveness, Burfict failed again. His jump of 104 inches ranked 30th among the 30 participating linebackers.
20-Yard Shuttle: After his disastrous start, he did not run in the 20-yard shuttle...
60-Yard Shuttle: ...nor the 60-yard shuttle...
3-Cone Drill: ...nor the 3-cone drill.
Overall Analysis: Burfict's Combine workouts could best be summed up in one word: "ugh". From his awful and delusional interview with the media, to his workouts in which his name appeared at or near the bottom of the linebacker list, Burfict dug his already deep hole even deeper. From consensus All-American to utter trainwreck in six months, the next several weeks should be full-on damage control for Burfict and his representation. He needs to wow teams at ASU's March 16th Pro Day and continue gaining momentum if he wants any chance to be taken before Round 5 in the draft.
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