Posted March 30, 2012
Vontaze Burfict runs 4.8, weighs in at 245 pounds
by Aaron Wilson of Scout.com
Arizona State junior middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict rebounded from a disastrous NFL scouting combine today by running the 40-yard dash in 4.79 to 4.8 seconds at his campus Pro Day workout.
Burfict ran a sluggish 5.09 at the combine.
He was also down to 245 pounds from 260 pounds, an encouraging sign.
His draft stock has taken a major hit, though, after once being projected as a potential first-round draft target. It's unclear what round he'll go in, but he'll obviously be waiting longer than he prefers. A consensus All-American as a sophomore, Burfict wasn't even an all-conference selection last season.
Often losing his temper and piling up penalties, Burfict has displayed serious flaws in his game and attitude.
Now, he's trying to change that perception.
I just want to let the press know that I’m not the guy that everybody assumes that I am,” Burfict said at the combine. “I’m a soft-spoken guy, shy. But when I’m on the field, I just hate to lose and I have aggression to win.
"I heard that I’m not coachable at times. I think that’s probably my pride and joy. I love being coached. I want to be better. Hopefully, I’ll be in the Hall of Fame one day."
A first-team All-American selection as a sophomore, Burfict was once benched for his reckless style on the football field that drew 17 personal fouls.
Burfict also infamously brawled with a teammate in the locker room and left the Sun Devils program after not even making all-conference as a junior.
NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock said he wouldn’t draft Burfict in the first round, saying he has serious questions about his attitude and play.
<> Call him an underachiever. Call him a poor teammate. Call him selfish. Call him out of control.
And Burfict swears you’re wrong.
Burfict insists he’s misunderstood, and he expects the NFL to accept him and his rough around the edges style.
“I’m pretty sure they know who I am now because I met with a couple of general managers,” Burfict said. “They kind of know who I am now.” An NFC scout said that Burfict is obviously talented and passionate about the game, but expressed concern about the extra things that go along with the California native’s ability to blitz and deck running backs.
“There’s a lot of inconsistency,” the scout said. “There’s a lot of questions for him to answer.”
Burfict once punched a wide receiver in the Sun Devils’ locker room.
It’s an incident he regrets.
"We had an argument, and we brought it into the locker room," Burfict said. "He started rough-housing me. He pushed me, and my first instinct was to swing. And everyone thinks I’m the bad guy because my first instinct was to swing on the guy.”
As a sophomore, he became the Sun Devils’ first defensive All-American since Terrell Suggs.
He led the team with 90 tackles, eight for losses, and forced two fumbles.
Last season, he dropped to 69 tackles with five sacks and one interception.
“I played average,” Burfict said. “I could've played better. That's what hurt me at times. The coaches kind of messed me up. I didn't know if I would start a game or be benched. It hurt me, but I tried to fight through it.”
Can the NFL count on him?
“I think I’ll come and change the whole atmosphere,” Burfict said. “I’m a leader and I’ll bring aggression to the game and the whole side of the defense.”
So, who is Vontaze Burfict?
That’s what the NFL is trying to figure out.
To him, it’s simple.
“I just love to hit," Burfict said. "I hate to lose. I just know I’m the best linebacker in this draft. I know I can get the job done.”