Don’t expect Vontaze Burfict to be Ray Lewis’ heir apparent

vontaze_burfict

OWINGS MILLS — Arizona State junior middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict grew up idolizing Baltimore Ravens All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis, trying to embody Lewis’ intimidating style.

"You’ve got to compare yourself to the greatest," Burfict once said. "I compare myself to him."

However, Burfict’s grand ambitions of mirroring the game of the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year appear to be unrealistic. Lewis’ accomplishments, skill and discipline are in heavy contrast to the raw Burfict.

A consensus All-American as a sophomore, Burfict wasn’t even an all-conference selection last season.

Often losing his temper and piling up penalties, Burfict has displayed serious flaws in his game and attitude. He plays like a candidate for anger management.

Now, he’s not regarded as a first-round draft target for NFL teams.

"I’m not a fan at all," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said during a conference call. "I just watched a bunch of his tape the other day. I came away unimpressed. His instincts aren’t good.

"He gets enveloped by bigger bodies and he runs around blocks. For a big, strong guy, he’s nowhere near as strong at the point of attack as I thought he’d be. I don’t see first round at all."

Burfict is prone to facemask penalties, head-butts and cheap shots.

He was benched two seasons ago due to an incredibly high amount of personal foul penalties.

Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson knows Lewis from his days at the University of Miami and once arranged for Burfict to speak with the NFL star.

"They’re both fired-up guys," Erickson said before last season. "Ray is obviously very mature at this point in his life. They’ve talked. I wanted Vontaze to relate to what those great players were all about. That’s his idol, man. That’s his man.

"There aren’t too many better. He’s a long way from Ray Lewis. Ray plays the game the way it should be played."

A big, strong linebacker at 6-foot-3, 252 pounds, Burfict’s lack of discipline extends to his off-field conduct.

Burfict allegedly punched a smaller teammate in the locker room. The former blue-chip recruit also has a history of academic problems.

As the Ravens search for a potential successor to Lewis, they should probably look in a different direction than Burfict.

Boston College standout Luke Kuechly is regarded as the consensus top inside linebacker in the draft.

However, he’s not expected to get past the Philadelphia Eagles’ No. 15 overall selection of the first round.

Other than Kuechly, Mayock doesn’t grade any other inside linebackers as worthy of going in the first round.

Not all draft experts agree, though.

For the Ravens, big Alabama inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower is another intriguing possibility who has drawn high grades.

 

This entry was posted in NFL Draft ~ Baltimore Ravens by Aaron Wilson. Bookmark the permalink.

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson
Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best...more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

 

Hot off the street

Special Teams Aren’t as Special Anymore

With all due respect to Justin Tucker (who is essentially Matt Stover with a bigger club) and Sam Koch who has the 6th best net punting average (41.5) in the league, special teams are overrated. So...read more

THURSDAY INJURY REPORT: Ravens @ Steelers

Ravens DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Michael Campanaro (thigh); TE Owen Daniels (knee); CB Jimmy Smith (foot); LB Terrell Suggs (neck) LIMITED PARTICIPATION: RB Justin Forsett (ankle); G Marshal Yanda...read more

TALE OF THE TAPE: An Extra Dose of “Zo”

After a 2013 season in which the Baltimore Ravens rush attack averaged a historically poor 3.1 yards per attempt, the run game in the Charm City has been nothing but positive. Ranking fifth in the ...read more

FANTASY LINKS: Starts and Sits Week 9

Fantasy Football Start or Sit: Week 9 With teams like the Packers, Bears, and Packers on a bye this week, decisions to start and sit players become even more difficult. The guys over at numberFire ...read more

FILMSTUDY: Defensive Highs And Lows in Cincinnati

Defensive Notes vs. Bengals 10/26/14 Matt Elam’s problems mushroomed Sunday with 5 missed tackles versus the Bengals. How much did that cost the Ravens? Let’s take a look: • (Q1, 13:27): ...read more

View More