Vontaze is a powerful, quick, dominating and passionate defensive player who reminds me a lot of Lawrence Taylor (former OLB, NY Giants). He has the size, strength and speed to play any one of the linebacker positions in a 4-3 defense or a 3-4 defense at a high level for the team that drafts him. He can rush the passer or shed blocks and make tackles in the hole. Vontaze is a head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive tackler. He shows leadership skills through his play on the field and will not stand for players around him who do not put forth the same effort that he does. He has the athletic talent to cover in passing situations close to the line of scrimmage, but the truth is, you want Vontaze to attack the line of scrimmage on just about every down. Vontaze is the type of player who will have to be accounted for on every single play. He is the type of player that screams across the line of scrimmage, to the QB, before the start of a crucial play, in the middle of a game, "Do you feel lucky today?!" I call him Vontaze (Shotgun) Burfict because he explodes to a play like a shotgun going off and that explosion can spray out and impact just about anyone in its path...friend or foe!
Vontaze lacks good lateral agility, which is why I think he is a better fit as a outside linebacker in a 4-3 or 3-4, although I believe he can handle the middle also. On third and long you want him attacking because he is not best going backwards and defending against the deep pass in the middle of the field. He also has a tendency to not play well with his teammates. He will go off on his own, kind of like Troy Polamalu does. This is both a good and a bad thing. A good coach will take advantage of this; however, it will drive a bad coach crazy. In doing a search on Vontaze I could not find any OFF-Field issues -- just ON-Field issues. If there are off field situations that match the on-field situations, then I would take Vontaze off my board, but so far I find nothing. I am giving Vontaze the benefit of the doubt for his on-field issues because of the coaching situation but I'm not giving him a pass on the penalties, arguing with referees and other immature crap he does against other teammates.
I know you are all shocked and think I am selling out or excusing this kid's attitude because of his talent. That could not be further from the truth. I'm not ready to hang this kid out to dry because of what I suspect was more of a coaching problem than a problem with Vontaze. I watched him in his bowl game and saw what you saw, but I asked myself, "What makes a kid act this way? Why did he hang his team out to day and just not show up to play?" This kid looked to me like someone broke his heart, like a child not getting what they wanted after asking for it over and over again. He didn't have problems like this last year! Why this year? If a kid is not doing drugs, being arrested for DUI, beating and raping woman, how are we supposed to know if his problems on the field are because of him or the coaches. I suspect the answer lies that both parties are at fault. This is why you see players go from one college to another. It's because there are personality conflicts. Vontaze is a handful, no doubt, but downgrading him because of a lack of communication or personality conflicts with coaches does not do it for me. I'm not giving Vontaze an excuse for behaving the way he has this year. I am saying that I need more specific criminal information for me to downgrade a player who has top ten talent and, from where I'm sitting, the information I have gathered on Vontaze, attitude is a push. It's a push because the coaches on that team are as much to blame as Vontaze is and Vontaze is a kid. Those coaches are suppose to be adults. Before I sat down to do this profile I had made up my mind to give Vontaze a TBR rating of seven, but the more information I gathered on him, the more I realized that he did not deserve it. This is a kid that just needs some direction and to feel that he is wanted. He also needs a coach he will respect and listen to. He needs direction on and off the field because his attitude makes you question if this kid can handle the money at the next level. The closer we get to draft day, the more I believe Vontaze will move up the boards, you can bet an agent will see to that. If a team wants to draft him, positive marketing to the fans will have to happen. The question you may ask is, would I draft him in the first round if he is rated on Rob's board as a first rounder? My answer? Only if the Value board and Talent board matched or the talent board shows talent exceeding the value board's round rating. That's how we draft players on draft day. That's our system and we stick to our system on draft day. This system is not a computer system; it's a system based on film work for the talent portion and calculated information on players draft value on the value portion. It's not perfect -- but it's pretty damn good and we have proof that it is. So to answer the question: I would draft Vontaze in the second round or maybe late in the first if all our TBR 1st rounders are gone and off the board.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart Jan /12