Despite the fact that Arizona State's Vontaze Burficthasn't received an invite to visit with any NFL teams, he still has confidence he'll have an impact on the league.
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"Whoever picks me in the draft," Burfict told Sports Illustrated, "is going to have a great middle linebacker."
Burfict took time to address his critics who have pointed out his performances on the field where he collected 16 personal foul penalties in 26 games and his disappointing showing at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. In his junior year at ASU, Burfict's weight balloned as high as 259 pounds, and his total tackles dropped from 90 in 2010 to 69 in 2011.
"Man, I'm always nervous," Burfict said. "But at the combine, it was a nervous like I was going to have a nervous breakdown. Especially looking up at all those coaches. For me to be in that spotlight, it was very nerve-racking."
After his experience at the combine Burfict found a new trainer and has dropped his weight to below 250 pounds.
Burfict has also been mentored by Buffalo Bills linebacker Nick Barnett, with whom he shares the same agent, Charles Price.
"He's had some ups and downs, and knows how to take care of them because he's been in the league for multiple years," Burfict said. "So I felt like if I could contact him, he could let me know what the league is about."
Barnett has also taught Burfict that he needs to be a role model for his community and teammates.
"It was especially good for me because a lot of people think I have a bad attitude because of the personal fouls on the field, or I ran a slow 40 at the combine," Burfict said.
NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi said that he wasn't a fan of the linebacker following Burfict's combine performance.
"I'm just real competitive, and I hate to lose. Because of the position I play ... you have to have some emotions running through your head," Burfict said. "When I'm on the field, I play with anger and aggression; just want to hit somebody. Certain people think, he's probably like that off the field. I've never been arrested, never been pulled over for anything."
"I wish that all 32 teams could just chill with me for a day and see what kind of person I am off the field. I'm soft-spoken and shy. I'm a laid-back guy."