This was a particularly important pick for the Raiders, considering they didn’t have a draft pick until the third round. So, unlike other teams, the fourth-round draft pick was only the Raiders second pick. General manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen had to make it a good one.
And they did by selecting Burris.
Some believe that the Raiders definitely needed a linebacker, probably more than any other position. They lack depth in that area, according to one Pro Football Talk. And although their current starters may be guys like Rolando McClain, Aaron Curry and Philip Wheeler, there’s not much left after that.
In that sense, Raiders' fans could only hope that Burris is the kind of depth that they are looking for.
At 6’2” and 246 lbs, Burris is an intelligent and tough player. If the Raiders were looking for a versatile outside linebacker, then they may have gotten one. But they may have also gained an inside linebacker as well.
Throughout most of his college career, Burris was an inside line backer.
In his last season though, he transitioned into an outside linebacker and still displayed some comfort in that position. In the 2011 season, Burris recorded a total of 76 tackles and eight sacks. In the Mountain West Conference, he led the division in tackles for a loss.
One thing to note about watching Burris is that he’s a great tackler and always on the move. Wherever the ball may be, you can bet that Burris is never too far away.
Although Burris will give credit to Rocky Long’s 3-3-5 system, Burris’ great performance was reflection of his character and the kind of player he is.
He’s exactly the type of player that the Raiders would want; CSTV described him as “hard-nosed and relentless.”
Burris has some weaknesses though. A report from Rotoworld claims that Burris “is a limited athlete and tends to grind out his pressures off the edge.” The report goes on to say that “Burris may play the strong side linebacker position with the Raiders but is limited in coverage.”
Some other areas of his pass-rush have also been questioned. For instance, Burris can be great on the blitz but, at times, has some trouble shaking off a tackle once he gets caught.
Until he's able to overcome such weaknesses, Burris may have to prove himself in other areas on the squad. Regardless of what he might need to develop and learn in the off-season as a linebacker, Burris may still be quite an asset on special teams.
Nevertheless, Burris is a hard worker and whatever weaknesses he had at SDSU will be addressed and worked on as a Raider. Given some time and development, I can see Burris becoming a future starter.
He definitely adds some depth to the Raiders linebacker core; that's for sure.
Burris is an all-round great pick by Oakland.
Other Articles By Nader Ktait: