Vontaze Burfict, NFL Draft 2012: ASU Linebacker A First-Round Talent

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24: Vontaze Burfict #7 of the Arizona State Sun Devils points and yells at quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the University of Southern California Trojans just prior to a play at Sun Devil Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Arizona State LB Vontaze Burfict is projected as a first-rounder right now, but exactly where he'll be picked remains to be seen.

Arizona St. Sun Devils linebacker Vontaze Burfict announced Tuesday that he will skip his senior season and make himself eligible for the NFL draft.

Burfict had 69 total tackles, 40 solo tackles, five sacks and one interception for the Sun Devils in 2011 but it's his talent and physical ability that has NFL scouts drooling.

In a 2012 Mock Draft from back in May, the preseason All-American candidate was tapped by Todd McShay as a first round pick, going to the San Diego Chargers with the 22nd overall pick in the draft.

Burfict is a work in progress and needs more game experience and coaching, but he is a physical specimen who can play sideline-to-sideline and blow plays up like no other linebacker in the country.

Since then, Burfict hasn't dont much to dissuade that kind of expectation. The stud middle linebacker for the Sun Devils is slotted at no. 31 to the Baltimore Ravens in the current SBNation mock draft. In Baltimore, he might have the perfect mentor:

Ray Lewis has a few more years left to give. Still, Lewis' injury this year has to be of some concern to the Ravens; after all, he is 36. Lewis is the perfect mentor for a tough young player like Burfict that needs to iron out his mental game.

Burfict is currently the No. 20 prospect on Mocking The Draft's overall rankings.

For more NFL Draft analysis and the player rankings for the 2012 NFL Draft, visit Mocking The Draft. For more on Burfict, visit SB Nation's Arizona State blog House of Sparky and SB Nation Arizona.

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