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Kevin Burnett OLB Tennessee 6í3 238
By: Robert Davis

Kevin Burnett came to Tennessee as a heralded safety recruit, but eventually ended up at linebacker for the Vols. As a sophomore, Burnett racked up 52 tackles, 6.5 for loss, and 3.5 sacks. As a true junior, he became a starter, but blew out his knee during the first game of the year and missed the rest of the year. He returned a year later as a redshirt junior and was voted team captain. He finished the year with 90 tackles, 7.5 for loss, and 1.5 sacks. He became even more active as a senior this past season, finishing the season with 120 tackles with 6 for loss. He was voted to a couple All-American lists, and was All SEC 1st team.

Burnett is a great athlete at the linebacker position. He is fluid moving forward, laterally, or back into coverage. There arenít many linebackers with the ability to close like Burnett can. In the open field, he shows the ability to break down and wrap up on the ball carrier. He was twice voted a team captain, and is a respected team leader.

Strength is the big issue with Burnett on defense. He isnít strong enough to hold up at the point of attack when a blocker gets his hands on him. He needs to get bigger and stronger to better handle engaging with lineman and to handle the beating he will take in the NFL. There also may be concerns about the knee injury from two years ago.

Burnett has the ability to be a great weakside linebacker in the NFL. He has the talent, the intelligence and the work ethic. Derrick Johnson is the consensus top linebacker in the draft, but Burnett may be #2. Teams that want a guy to make plays in space will fall in love with Burnett. He can do it all in the NFL, and will be even more complete with a few more pounds added to his frame. He could crack the end of the first round, but I expect him to go somewhere in the second round.

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