Thursday, October 13, 2011
Burfict slips on Kiper's 'Big Board'
By ESPN.com staff
Before we take a look at Mel Kiper's updated "Big Board" for the 2012 NFL draft, what do you say we pause for a moment and annoy USC fans?
What's the Trojans' weakest -- or at least thinnest position -- this season? Linebacker, right? Remember the 2009 recruiting class? You know: The one that was supposed to include Vontaze Burfict and Manti Te'o?
Burfict was committed to USC for a while before switching to ASU. And Te'o was long thought of as a sure thing for USC before a signing day switch to Notre Dame, where he's been able to enjoy cold weather, bad teams and a coaching change.
Why bring this up now? Well, Kiper has just advanced Te'o past Burfict as the No. 1 linebacker on his Big Board, that's why, silly!
Burfict dropped from No. 11 to No. 14, with Te'o holding steady at No. 13.
Writes Kiper on Te'o:
Te'o has risen this year and is challenging Burfict for top interior linebacker. He's making a ton of tackles in the middle of the field but with range to the sideline, and he has added blitzing skills. A rugged player with ideal size
Kiper rightly notes that Burfict has a showcase game at Oregon on Saturday. The Ducks' speedy, high-tempo running game will provide him plenty of opportunities to throw his 250 pounds around. Writes Kiper:
Huge game in Eugene for Burfict. He has great instincts, makes plays sideline to sideline and is far more disciplined than he gets credit for. Has a ton of experience since landing at ASU.
Think those two could have helped Monte Kiffin?
As for the rest of Kiper's board, it held steady: Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is No. 1, USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil is No. 3, Stanford offensive tackle Jonathan Martin is No. 6 and USC quarterback Matt Barkley is No. 10.