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NFP: Vontaze Burfict In Need Of Strong Combine Performance

When 2012 draft talks began to heat up, a popular name when it came to linebackers was Arizona State inside linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Many saw him as a hard-hitting Rey Lewis type inside linebacker and in early mock drafts, he was picked to go in the first round to the Eagles or Ravens. However as time went on, Burfict's stock fell as he had image problems, and NFL Network's Albert Breer was told by NFL execs that most see him as a "fake tough guy," and that he's "soft and out of shape" and shouldn't be a first-round pick.

For these reasons, National Football Post's Wes Bunting lists Burfict as one of the players heading to the NFL Combine that needs to make a great impression to improve their draft stock.

A talent with a natural pop on contact, can hold the point of attack when he wants to and for his size exhibits good range and fluidity. However, due to the character concerns it will be interesting to see what kind of shape he's in when asked to workout. Talent evaluators want to see how passionate he is about the game and this process, and getting a feel for what kind of shape he's in will be key.

With a great showing at the Combine, Burfict could work his way back into the first round. If he doesn't show scouts that he's worth it, he could fall pretty far.

For more on the Arizona State Sun Devils, head to House Of Sparky, and for more on the draft, head to Mocking the Draft.