Biography: Three-year starter earned all-conference honors and named to several All-America teams in 2010. Junior totals included 69 tackles/7 tackles for loss/5 sacks after he had 90 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss as a sophomore. Freshman totals included 69/7/2.
Positives: Forceful and game-impacting linebacker coming off a massively disappointing season. His play was streaky at best, as Burfict would either disappear for stretches or make numerous ill-advised plays. When he?s on his game, he?s a dominant playmaker who defeats blocks and gets up the field or behind the line. Shows the ability to go sideline to sideline, gets outside the numbers and covers a lot of area on the field. Plays with aggressiveness, can be a devastating hitter and goes for the knockout blow. Jolts blockers with tremendous hand punch. Scrapes well laterally, works to keep the action in front of him and wraps up when tackling. Stout run defender and easily brings down ballcarriers on initial contact.
Negatives: Displays a lot of indecision in coverage. Does not play hard on every down. Called for bad penalties on multiple occasions in a single game. All too often complains to officials rather than worrying about making plays. Has off-the-field issues and work ethic is questioned. Performed terribly at the combine.
Analysis: Coming into the 2011 season, expectations were high for Burfict, who had displayed dominant skills the previous two years. He needs constant direction on and off the field and will need a lot of hand-holding and one-on-one coaching to be successful. He possesses the talent to be a productive defender, if not a Pro-Bowl player in the NFL. Offers a lot of upside but comes with a lot of risk.
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