NFL Draft 2012: Cleveland Browns Rumored to Have Interest in Vontaze Burfict

Brian MurtaughAnalyst IApril 11, 2012

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24:   Vontaze Burfict #7 of the Arizona State Sun Devils points and yells at quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the University of Southern California Trojans just prior to a play at Sun Devil Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

According to Mark Sessler of, the Cleveland Browns are showing interest in one of the most controversial prospects in the entire 2012 NFL draft.

Vontaze Burfict was once considered a first-round selection in the upcoming draft, before a poor combine showing and weak interview process pushed him back to a second or third-day selection.

The Browns currently have 13 draft picks at their disposal. Therefore, it is not surprising that they would be willing to take a risk on a huge upside player. Burfict has had plenty of issues throughout the draft process and has even been labeled undraftable by some of the top experts around the league.

However, on-field production speaks louder than interviews. In some cases, a young player with great talent is worth the risk. Burfict was a dominating linebacker at Arizona State. He imposed his will, week after week, with stellar run defense. Burfict had 40 solo tackles in 2011, compiled seven tackles for loss and five sacks.

The Browns would be in a good position to draft Burfict because of the current state of the defense and the fact that they already have an established middle linebacker in place. Burfict would have the opportunity to sit behind D'Qwell Jackson for the next few seasons and hopefully develop into a player that can be productive. It is that type of player that teams hope for late in the draft because of a weakened talent pool.

Per Sessler's article:

The Browns have shown interest in drafting Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict, multiple sources told told ESPN Cleveland on Tuesday. "(Burfict) would be a late-round value pick," one source told the site.

Cleveland will likely be looking for additional linebackers in the later rounds of the draft due to injury concerns and age. Burfict will be one of the most controversial picks of the entire NFL draft, but could be a diamond in the rough for a team willing to risk adding him to their club.