Now That the Ink is Dry: Miles Burris
Jon York – Jun 8, 2012
Follow along and try to form a picture of an anonymous linebacker.
Team Captain as a senior in college. First Team All Conference his last two collegiate seasons. Three time Academic All Conference.
This unnamed linebacker played in 37 games with 25 starts. According to sports-reference.com, as a junior led his conference in tackles for loss (20 - good enough for 10th nationally), sacks (10), and was 7th in solo tackles (54). A productive senior season saw him once again lead his conference in tackles for loss with 20 (8th nationally), finish 3rd in sacks with 8, and have the 10th highest total of solo tackles (46).
This linebacker had solid measureables at pre-draft workouts. Good size at 6 feet 2 inches tall and 246 pounds (NFL lists him as 6'3" and 235 lbs). At the NFL scouting combine he had the third best showing for his position on the 225 pound bench press (31 reps). His 37.5 inch vertical was 2nd among outside linebackers and his broad jump was 5th amongst his peers. He did not run a 40 yard dash until his pro day but his 4.67 time would have finished 7th at the combine.
If you got this far it is reasonable to assume you read the title of the article and therefore know that this isn't an imaginary linebacker. These are the measurables and accolades of Miles Burris, the 129th overall pick of the Oakland Raiders.
Numbers alone would seem to suggest a linebacker expected to go relatively early in the draft. Nevertheless Burris had two things working against him. Strike one was a unique 3-3-5 defense employed by the Aztecs. That scheme showcased his strengths but didn't call for Burris to display some skills as often as could be required in a more traditional defensive set. Secondly, for some reason most importantly, was the conference he played in.
San Diego State plays in the Mountain West Conference. A "mid major" school in an inferior conference. Never mind it has been home to TCU and Boise State - two nationally recognized football programs. It is an inferior conference and thus should produce players that are also inferior.
This was fortunate for the Raiders as it let them acquire a player of Burris' caliber in the 4th round. I had hoped he was a target for Reggie McKenzie in the 5th round but wherever the position my biggest hope was that he was on the Raiders radar.
Miles Burris is more than just those numbers. SDSU is my local school - the college team I follow. I was fortunate enough to see him in action far more than if he had played in a "superior" conference. I am not a professional scout by any means but that isn't a necessity when watching a player as talented as Burris. He was all over the field making plays. He displayed a nose for the ball. His play was that of controlled aggression.
Everything about Miles Burris suggests he has a future in the NFL. Thankfully that future - at least for the next four years - is in Oakland.
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