Sporting News: Vontaze Burfict a third-round player

TEMPE AZ - SEPTEMBER 04: (L-R) Gregory Smith #17 head coach Dennis Erickson Vontaze Burfict #7 and Keelan Johnson #10 of the Arizona State Sun Devils lead teammates out onto the field prior the college football game against the Portland State Vikings at Sun Devil Stadium on September 4 2010 in Tempe Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Vikings 54-9. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

From the odd files, Russ Lande of the Sporting News has some interesting thoughts in his linebacker rankings for the 2012 NFL Draft.

Most notably, the former NFL scout considers star Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict a third-round pick. Lande notes that Burfict lacks elite speed and explosiveness to make plays on the outside.

Lande touches on Burfict's penchant for personal fouls, but not the off-field incident where he allegedly sucker-punched a teammate.

If you dig deeper into Lande's value rankings, he doesn't think very highly of the linebacker class. Lande thinks just seven linebackers will be taken in the first three rounds of next year's draft. That would be several fewer than recent years. Last season, there were 11 linebackers taken in the first three rounds. In 2010, there were 15.

Lande considers speedy North Carolina outside linebacker Zach Brown as the top linebacker prospect in the country. He doesn't rate Boston College's Luke Kuechly at all, which is shocking.

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