Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Vontaze Burfict was awful in every possible way at the NFL Combine last year.He ran slower than any linebacker, jumped poorly, and failed his interviews with NFL teams.
The performance was so bad that he went undrafted despite being a consensus first-round pick last winter.
But in a twist that makes you question the value of the Combine, ultimately none of that mattered. He signed with the Bengals as a free agent, got promoted to starter early in the year, and was the team’s best linebacker by the playoffs.
Burfict looked to be a total mess at this time last year, so it’s unfair to criticise the writers who bashed him too badly.
But his story just goes to show yow how a Combine performance (good or bad) can be blown totally out of proportion.
Here’s what people were saying about Burfict last year.
“He didn’t even bother with the bench-press test or shuttle runs. So, let’s see: No speed. No explosiveness. No competitive spirit.
“Yep, you want to invest millions of dollars in this guy.”
“Burfict had a nice week. He proclaimed himself the “best linebacker in this draft,” blamed everyone else but himself for his shaky 2011 season, defended his decision to “swing on” a teammate in a locker-room fight last year, and then ran a disappointing 5.09 and broad-jumped just 8 feet, 7 inches. This is a guy who came across to the league as having blind spots the size of, well, the Grand Canyon, which coincidentally is in Arizona.
“Burfict thinks he’s a misunderstood first-round talent. The league is more likely to give him an underachiever’s third-round grade. And factoring in his winning personality and personal baggage, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear his name called on draft weekend until the third and final day.”
“I put his tape on with absolutely zero preconceived notions. I watched three tapes and really didn’t like him as a football player. I think he’s a non-draftable kid. For me, he’s a free agent.”
“I wouldn’t touch him. He does have some talent, but he is so undisciplined on and off the field. The guy is completely out of control. There’s no way you could trust him. I can’t believe they (ASU coaching staff) didn’t cut him loose.”
“Burfict’s 2011 film says he’s a third-rounder, and when you add in those results along with character baggage and poor interviews his stock is beginning to plummet.”
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