Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

Raiders Draft Preview: Vontaze Burfict


Once upon a time Vontaze Burfict and the Oakland Raiders would have been a match made in heaven. Few players in the 2012 NFL Draft create such strong opinions as that of Burfict. He’s the kind of guy Al Davis would have welcomed with open arms if it was 1974.

On the one hand Burfict has been compared to Patrick Willis. His talent as a middle linebacker is that real. On the other hand Burfict draws comparisons on Ndamukong Suh and we’re not talking about his talent in that department. Burfict has a knack for crossing the line between being aggressive and playing dirty.

As it stands the Raiders are staying the course with Rolando McClain in the middle. He hasn’t amazed anyone in his first two seasons in the NFL but there is enough to work with that Reggie McKenzie isn’t willing to pull the plug on that Al Davis project just yet.

Still it is hard to ignore just how invisible McClain can be despite his size and considerable athleticism. Burfict was a lock as a first round talent until the wheels came off during his junior season at Arizona State. Inconsistent play, attitude issues and an unimpressive collection of draft workouts have dropped Burfict’s stock down to the late 4th or 5th round level. He could be a bargain at that price but might not be worth the headache. Either way, he’s a prospect some team will certainly roll the dice on. Why not the Raiders?

Vontaze Burfict, MLB, Arizona State

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 248lbs

Strengths: An absolute monster in the middle of the field. He creates havoc playing sideline to sideline with a high motor and a huge chip on his shoulder. Good in all phases of the game from defending the run to pass coverage to rushing the passer. Has a knack for sniffing out plays and blowing them up before they develop. Lays the lumber whenever he hits.

Weaknesses: Defines the term wildcard. His conditioning has gotten worse from each year. Has had problems with coaches at ASU and was benched despite being the Sun Devils best player. Lets emotions get the best of him and will no doubt be all over the Roger Goodell’s radar. Combine performance underwhelmed in all areas.

Tags: Draft Preview Featured Ndamukong Suh Patrick Willis Popular Reggie McKenzie Rolando McClain Vontaze Burfict