Burfict was a fairly inconsistent college player. He was the defensive freshman of the year in the Pac-12, became one of the top linebackers in the country as a sophomore, then fell off as a junior. After a final season marked by weight problems, discipline issues and friction with his coaches, he heads into the draft in a less-than-favorable position. However, based on his talent alone, he should still be picked relatively early.
Burfict has been a fierce, punishing competitor. Bringing a serious physical presence, he would likely upgrade most any defense in the NFL. When he is in shape, Burfict can fly from sideline to sideline, and can cover tight ends sufficiently in the pass game. He really excels as a pass rusher and inside tackler, with his ability to meet running backs in the hole and provide a punishing blow. He is savvy, has good instincts and can read blocks well enough to get to the ball. In the right scheme, and with the right support staff in place, Burfict could be a leading tackler in the NFL.
You would be hard-pressed to find a player whose draft status was more negatively affected by discipline issues. He can be a physical inside presence in the NFL, but not many pro coaches are going to put up with personal foul penalties like the coaches at Arizona State, who, frankly, did not have any other options inside. Burfict was also slowed by extra weight; though NFL players like the Patriots Brandon Spikes have thrived while playing at a bigger size, Burficts athleticism has really been inhibited.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.