- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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One of the more intriguing players available in next month’s draft is Arizona State’s Vontaze Burfict.
A year ago, Burfict was considered a top-10 pick. However, after a rocky 2011 season, some character concerns and a poor offseason in 2012, Burfict’s draft stock has tumbled. I know of one team that has him as a third-round pick. There are some who think he could slide to the third day of the draft.
Despite his issues, Burfict -- who is going to perform for scouts at another pro day Friday -- has some terrific game film. Some folks in the know think he may be a good fit in Denver and Kansas City. The versatile Burfict is being looked at as a middle linebacker in a 4-3 defense and as a weakside inside linebacker in a 3-4. Let’s see how if Burfict fits with all the AFC West teams:
Denver: The issue here is the Broncos have second-year middle linebacker Nate Irving, who they believe in. The Broncos, who run a 4-3 defense, just re-signed Joe Mays as well. I think Burfict could benefit from the strong coaching in Denver and a veteran locker room, but I don’t know if there is room for him.
Kansas City: This is an interesting fit. The Chiefs could use an inside linebacker for their 3-4 system. Burfict would benefit from playing for Romeo Crennel. The Chiefs gambled and scored with outside linebacker Justin Houston in the third round last year. They could do the same thing here. I’d say they would be the favorites in the division to draft Burfict.
Oakland: Some people don’t think this is a fit, but I could see the Raiders looking at Burfict in the right circumstance. The Raiders have not yet committed to what defensive scheme they will run, but they will, at least, be flexible. Having a versatile linebacker like Burfict could be beneficial. The Raiders will look for a true strongside linebacker with their first pick at No. 95. But I could see Burfict on Oakland’s radar.
San Diego: The Chargers, who run a 3-4 defense, are probably the least likely to grab Burfict. They have a surplus of young talent at inside linebacker and have other needs. Right now, it doesn’t seem like a perfect fit.
5dEric D. Williams