Former Arizona State inside linebacker Vontaze Burfict met with Ravens officials last night and said that he'd love the opportunity to play alongside his idol, Ray Lewis.
"That would be awesome. He’s my role model," Burfict just said while meeting with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "I really feel like I could take my game to the next level especially learning from him. It could mean a lot. He can help me in the film room, things that I’m not great in. Just running to the ball, full speed. I’ve watched him and he never takes plays off. You can learn a lot from him."
Burfict said that his meeting with the Ravens went pretty good and acknowledged that team officials asked him some tough questions to figure out more about him.
Perhaps, no player's draft status in recent weeks has taken a bigger hit than Burfict, who is facing questions both about his performance this past season and his maturity. According to ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay, Burfict was flagged for 17 personal flag penalities in 35 games for Arizona State. He also endured a highly-publicized benching and a locker room fight with a teammate, further hurting his reputation for being undisciplined.
"He started rough housing me and he pushed me and my first instinct was to swing," Burfict said today explaining the incident. "Now everybody thinks I’m a bad guy because my instincts were to swing at a guy. I had a locker room fight, I learned from it."
Burfict, who has been working with former NFL linebacker Nick Barnett, told reporters that he is largely misunderstood, and hoped that came across to the general managers that he's met with this week.
"I just want to let the press know that I’m not the guy that everybody assumes that I am," Burfict said. "I’m a soft-spoken guy, shy. But when I’m on the field, I just hate to lose and I have aggression to win. I heard that I’m not coachable at times. I think that’s probably my pride and joy. I love being coached. I want to be better. Hopefully, I’ll be in the Hall of Fame one day."
Mostly because his connection to Lewis and the understanding that the Ravens ultimately will need to find an heir apparent for the future Hall of Famer, Burfict was once viewed as a potential first-round pick for the Ravens.
However, most recent draft projections have him going in the second or third round. It will be interesting if the Ravens take a chance on him if he's available late in the second round.
For all the questions about him, he is 6-foot-3, 248 points and plays with great intensity, passion and aggressiveness. All are attributes that would fit in well with the Ravens' defense.
Asked about his falling draft status, Burfict said, "I’m not really concerned about that. I just know that I’m the best linebacker in this draft."
He's obviously got the confidence part covered as well.