2012 NFL Draft: Should Dallas Cowboys Invest a Pick in Vontaze Burfict?

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIApril 19, 2012

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 09:  Linebacker Vontaze Burfict #7 of the Arizona State Sun Devils during the college football game against the Missouri Tigers at Sun Devil Stadium on September 9, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Tigers 37-30 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Vontaze Burfict is an enigma as an inside linebacker prospect. If the Dallas Cowboys were to draft Burfict in a late round of the draft, they’d have an amazing talent. Harnessing that talent would be an issue, since he didn’t play to his own personal level while at Arizona State. The Cowboys would have to know what they’re doing in order to draft him.

His CBSSports.com draft profile quips that “Burfict” rhymes with “perfect,” while adding that it's just a coincidence. If Burfict were perfect, he’d practice perfect, as a popular saying implies. However, that’s not evident when watching him.

Things don’t add up with Burfict. He has great speed, but doesn’t time his attacks on ballcarriers well. He can use his quickness and light-footedness to get by blockers, but doesn’t use his nimble feet the way he should. If he did those things, he’d get more tackles, hit harder and pose a scary threat to opposing teams.

Burfict has great tackling ability, but doesn’t use it effectively, often missing tackles while trying to deliver a devastating hit.

With his speed and elusiveness, Burfict can blitz from anywhere. However, he rarely gets sacks.

Everything becomes clearer when considering his immaturity. He refused to accept responsibility for his inability to live up to the expectations bestowed upon him when he was recruited as the No. 1 inside linebacker in the country.

If the Cowboys want to draft Burfict, they need a plan. Jason Garrett would need to have a vision for how he’d coach him. Rob Ryan or another assistant coach would have to have great conviction in his ability to coach and guide Burfict.

Burfict doesn’t have his head on straight, and a coach would have to set him right in order that he succeed in the NFL.

Burfict became stagnant in college. After earning a Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year honor from The Sporting News his sophomore season, he didn’t earn any postseason honors in 2011 after collecting only 68 tackles.

Many fans surely wonder what team could save Burfict from his doldrums. Some Cowboys fans might wonder if Garrett and his staff could focus Burfict before his football career goes down the tubes.

That’s not something the Cowboys need to take upon themselves. Enough Cowboys were uninspiring in 2011. Kevin Ogletree and Doug Free are among those lackluster performers from last year who are still on the team.

Some listless performers, like Terence Newman, were cut or allowed to go elsewhere in free agency. The Cowboys don’t need to pick up another project player.