Well it is now four days away from the NFL Draft and once sure fire first round pick Vontaze Burfict has not gotten a single invite to visit any NFL teams.
Just a few short months ago the highly touted but troubled middle linebacker from Arizona State was all but picking out his jersey number for the Baltimore Ravens in most draft experts minds. Fans in Baltimore who barely knew anything about the draft knew who Burfict was and that he was to be the next great Baltimore linebacker.
Oh how things have changed. Now if you ask those same fans, they'll say "Vontazey who?" It seems the fans in Baltimore have moved on after Burfict fell apart at his combine work out. He scored just about the worst possible scores of any linebacker in just about every category and just like the fans here in Baltimore the rest of the NFL has lost interest. Now he can't even get a visit. NFL teams have guys visit that they could never even hope to draft. They pay for them to fly in and give then the royal treatment knowing full well that they will be off the board way before that team picks. For Burfict however, nothing.
Things will go one of two ways for Mr. Burfict at this point. Some team may overlook the combine workout and his many on and off the field issues and choose to give him a chance in the later rounds because of his dominant play on the field. Or, he does not get drafted at all and is forced to sign somewhere as an un-drafted free agent. A far cry from the millions of dollars in signing bonus money that was heading his way just a few short months ago. Which brings me to my next question, why? Why would you not train extra hard just for that one day? You have already proven you can play the game. Now you just have to prove you can run, jump and dodge traffic cones... Come on man?
I guess that is what NFL teams are thinking when his name comes to mind. Except they don't have the time or patience to wait for an answer. Plus, whatever that answer may be it won't be good enough. I mean if you can't get it together for the one day you need to shine, what will you get it together for? Once you run that 40 at the combine, you will never have to run one again. At least not for any NFL teams. So either he really is that slow and out of shape or he just doesn't care. I don't know which is worse.
So, after all the time he spent in college putting running backs on their butts it all came crashing down in one day. One sub-par day out of dozens of well played games. Well, he'll get a chance somewhere. It's not going to be his million dollar chance like he hoped though. This time he's going to have to work hard and make the most out of every opportunity he gets. Something tells me that this may not be his strong suit but apparently he has a message for all of the NFL teams that are sure to pass on him round after round.
"Whoever picks me in the draft," Burfict told Sports Illustrated, "is going to have a great middle linebacker."
Well that's it, I'm sold! let's pick him in the first! Those combine scores are over rated right?!
In all seriousness I feel a bit bad for the guy though. I wouldn't mind the Ravens using a late round pick on him if he is still there. Maybe he could have benefited from the humbling experience that has been the NFL for him so far. Sometimes that's all a guy needs. Maybe, even though it looks like his journey is over and his best days have passed, this is just the beginning of a long NFL career in which he quiets all of his doubters. I guess if that's the case, the football world is going to be a quiet place for some time now.