ILB - Arizona State
Height: 6' 3"
Weight: 250 lbs.
*2010 All-American (TSN)
*2010 Pac-10 Defensive MVP (TSN)
*2009 Freshman All-American (FWAA, CFN)
*2009 Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year
*2008 High School All-American (EA Sports, MaxPreps, Parade)
Burflict had a fairly inconsistent career at Arizona State, where he was the Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year, went on to be the consensus top linebacker in the country as a sophomore, and then really fell off as a Junior, much like the entire ASU program. A final season of turmoil, weight issues, discipline issues, and general friction between Burflict and his coaches doesn't leave him in the most favorable position entering the draft, but talent alone should be enough for Burflict to be picked early.
Burflict has been a fierce, punishing competitor throughout his career. He is capable of providing a serious physical presence, and likely an upgrade, to the middle of any defense in the NFL. When he is in shape, Burflict can fly from sideline to sideline and cover tight ends well sufficiently in the pass game. He really excels as a pass rusher and inside tackler, where he can meet nearly any RB in the hole and provide a punishing blow that sends the ball carrier backwards. He is savvy and plays instinctually, and he is able to read blocks well to get to the ball. In the right scheme with a support staff in place, Burflict has the capability to be a leading tackler in the NFL
You would be hard-pressed to find a player whose on-field discipline issues had such a negative effect on draft status as Burflict's have affected him this year. He is capable of being the physical inside presence for an NFL defense, but not many coaches are going to have the patience to deal with personal foul penalties like the coaches did at ASU where, frankly, Burflict was the only option inside. He has put on weight within the last year that has really slowed him down, and while that size has boded well for players like Brandon Spikes of New England, it has really inhibited Burflict's athleticism and ability to get sideline to sideline.