With the 2011 NFL Draft officially in the books, it is now time to sit the new fresh meat down and POUND them for info on who the hell you are exactly. Today, we continue with the Vikings FIRST fifth round pick, CB Brandon Burton out of Utah. Why did we have several fifth round picks? Because we worked that draft like a BOSS, that’s why … except for the third round. Whatever. Let’s get to this.
Real Name: Brandon Burton, which for some reason reminds me of Benjamin Button, but not quite … Burton … there’s another reference in there I’m missing. He was born in 1989, effectively making me feel really old, and actually was born in Germany. GERMANY!!! HE’S A NAZI! That’s actually not true, and in my two minutes of research I can’t find any references for WHY he was born in Germany (Military dad most likely?), but it obviously didn’t last too long as he ended up going to high school in Texas and then college in ….. Utah. You know what else is in Utah? Mormons. Lot’s of ’em.
Potential Nicknames: Benajamin Button for one, but also Btian, the Storm Trooper (Germany reference?), Brandon Berlin, Winfield 2.0, Marlon Brando, Das Burton, Brandon Hassel-Burton and whatever else you can come up with in the comments.
Three Smiles: Heading into the draft many scouts were pretty excited about Burton. They keep saying he has NFL size for cornerback (he is 6’0″, 185 lbs … doesn’t that seem small? Not for an average white person, but like, a real football player that needs to whoop ass?), and can play well in most schemes. For the zone schemes, assuming of course that Big Leslie keeps with his Cover-2 that was super effective last year, Burton has shown to have good read-and-react skills, jumping on ball carriers and being willing to take chances. Sometimes he wins big (he’s had a couple of interceptions in 2009 and 2010 with lots more pass break-ups … Good!) and sometimes he gets burned, but that’s probably what you could say about any cornerback in the league not named Karl Paymah. He’s also got good recovery speed as well, showing the ability to keep with receivers streaking down the field. Of course, his body of work was against teams that Utah played, and they haven’t moved to the Pac-12 yet, so let’s not go fluffing each others’ testicles just yet, OK?
No Smiles: On the other hand, Burton also needs a lot of technique work. Scouts tend to be down on his footwork (He’s no Patrick Swayze, I’ll tell ya) which ends up being the difference often times between a pass break-up and a completion that explodes right in your face (sex reference!). That’s something people can work on, but it also means unrealistic Vikings fans need to temper their expectations for him stepping in and doing something crazy like taking over for Winfield. Case in point, Burton isn’t at Winfield’s level at all, especially when it comes to tackling. While he can hold his own, Burton has a decent about of tape of him getting his face blasted (…sex reference?) when a ball carrier takes it up the gut, and reverts a lot to cut blocking when he should just wrap a dude up. That’s Mountain West Conference tackling for ya! However, he has shown the willingness to get in there and miss it up like a feisty little midget looking for a good drunken fight, and if the Vikings’ coaches (particularly Big Leslie) work on hsi technique, Burton may be serviceable as a starter in two to three years.
How He’ll Fit In: As said, ideally you’d like to see Burton become a starter, or at least a quality staple in the defensive back rotation. As we saw last year, we’re thinner than Candice Swanepoel at cornerback, with our only decent player in Winfield being nearly old enough to be Burton’s dad. With our only other decent option in Cedric Griffin also losing both knees to shotgun blasts, we’re left to look at Chris Cook (injured), Asher Allen (mentally retarded), Frank Walker (porn addict), Lito Sheppard (not a shepherd) and a bunch of other guys who say they play cornerback who probably shouldn’t be on an NFL roster. That’s bad news. You hope Burton will be able to push SOMEONE for a roster spot in his first year, even if it’s just booting a veteran, canceling out their mundane existence with some new and exciting potential. If that does happen, we can lookf or Burton to slip in to the slot (sex reference again!) and play mostly in dime defenses, I would guess. And probably on special teams. He blocked a couple of field goals in college, so having him try his luck at that in the pros would be a nice way for him to endear himself to fans.
Who We’ll Never Have to See Again: With there being a ton of cornerbacks technically on the roster, many of whom I wish to never see again, I would have to wager that people like DeAndre Wright and Cord Parks will be on their way out. Never even heard of Cord Parks, so I’ll just go ahead and write his name in pen that he won’t be returning to the team. But if we want to make a sexy declaration of who won’t be returning because of this draft pick, I’ll blame a veteran again and pick on Lito Sheppard. I’m not sure why he ended up so brutal last year, but he was somehow even worse than Frank Walker who literally walked in off the street (likely from the Red Light District) and played shitty, but better, than Sheppard did at any point last year. At the very least, Burton will also help to prevent the Vikings from making any signings like Walker, Sheppard, Paymah, and the like from happening in the near future. Having to roll with guys like that is just so damn depressing.
Overall Grade: When we’re picking in the fifth round you’re really hit or miss as to what you’re getting. Burton was ranked as the 14th best cornerback in the draft by CBS Sports, which really may or may not mean a thing. Was that a good value to find in the fifth round? Sure? I don’t know and also don’t really care what else was picked by this point. I do remember clearly how upset I still was that we had passed on Prince Amukamara at the #12 pick (would have been an instant starter for us at CB for years to come) and by this point had still not bothered to pick an offensive linemen. For that, I’d give Burton a C+ largely because his immediate impact is negligible, but long term he has potential. Also, what do I know. I’ve always tried to NOT watch Mountain West football, so I’ve never heard of Burton until the draft. And I hate everyone, anyway. Always keep that in mind.
Here’s a Funny Picture of Him, Maybe: