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NFL Mock Draft 2012: Todd McShay Projects Vontaze Burfict To Baltimore Ravens In First Round

The 2012 NFL Draft is just a few short months away and many players and coaches are getting ready for a hectic next few weeks as workouts and skill camps begin. One of the most intriguing players on any draft board is Arizona St. Sun Devils linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who has the potential to be an elite talent when he has his head on straight.

While most have Burfict projected for the second round, Todd McShay of ESPN has him going late in the first round to the Baltimore Ravens.

29. Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State

Burfict is a physical freak with tremendous athleticism and explosive power. He's a top-20 talent, but questions about his discipline on and off the field are hurting his stock. However, Burfict could contribute immediately and would benefit greatly from the leadership and guidance of Ravens MLB Ray Lewis. And you have to wonder whether the Ravens would press their luck and take another player with character flags after bringing CB Jimmy Smith into the fold last year.

Burfict seemingly has a similar mindset to what some current Ravens have had in the past -- the, "I don't care if I hurt my team, I'm going to go for the big blow regardless" mindset -- but as McShay mentions, Burfict would have plenty of guidance from Ray Lewis and company. Should the physical linebacker learn from the veteran defensive core in Baltimore and harness his anger into production on the field, he could add to a defense that has ranked near the top of the AFC for years.