40: 4.50 (estimated)
Competitor that has nice hips and good enough burst to turn and run with receivers. Can be effective in press coverage and is able to get the jam. Does a nice job keeping things in front of him and has a good feel for space and playing in zone. Shows nice ball skills to play the ball in the air. Will challenge the jump ball and competes. Gives effort in run support, and able to come up and make the stop on the quick screen. Breaks down and wraps up as a tackler. Can funnel things back inside. Shows nice burst off the corner as a blitzer. Has experience playing in the slot.
Not a major contributor in run support, as he whiffs on a lot of tackles against quality backs. Tackles high and is more of a drag-down tackler. Needs to take better angles in space and will whiff on stops after the catch. Can give up the deep play. Doesn't have great hips or burst and will have some trouble matching up with speed. Needs to polish up his technique a bit. Will miss the jam at times in press and give up the big play because he lacks the athleticism to make up for it. Can get a bit handsy and be flagged for a penalty.
Watched Burton shadow some premium receivers like Jon Baldwin, Michael Floyd, and Austin Pettis this year, and he held his own. Not the most gifted corner, but you like that competitive fire and he doesn't back down from a challenge. Probably projects a bit better in zone than man, but has the skills to be solid in the latter. A two-year starter that combined for 98 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 sack, 3 picks, 18 breakups, 1 forced fumble, and 2 blocked kicks in that span. Utah's had some recent success with defensive backs transitioning into the NFL with Eric Weddle, Sean Smith, and Brice McCain.
I think Burton has the potential to be a good NFL starter. I think he'll likely enter the league able to contribute quickly as a nickel corner and then develop from there. He doesn't strike me as a guy that is going to be a No. 1 corner at the next level, but he has the size, toughness, and ball skills to match up as a starter and be productive there. He's probably a few years away from developing as a starter, and I think can be at home as a No. 3 and slot corner his first few years in the league. His potential is greater in a zone scheme, but he has enough tools that with some more coaching he can be an effective man corner as well. He's not a guy that I see thriving in a starting role early on and will probably make his fair share of mistakes even as a nickel guy. The player I would compare him to is someone like Brent Grimes. He's not the athlete that Grimes is, but he's got good size and similarly he's a guy that should get better with more time because he shows the work ethic and competitive spirit similar to Grimes. If he can polish up his footwork and technique, he has the potential to be a very solid No. 2 corner.
Burton can offer immediate help to the Falcons nickel situation, and potentially push down the road as a starter. But probably projects best as a long-term No. 3 that in time should improve enough that he can be a good stopgap starter and insurance policy in case the Falcons part ways with Grimes or Robinson two or three years down the road. He needs work, but I think he stands a decent chance of landing the nickel role as a rookie. He'd probably have his struggles, but moving forward in 2012 he should start to solidify that spot.
Burton doesn't have great upside, but should be able to solidify a secondary with good starting potential. That makes him a nice value in the second round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Man Coverage: 3.5
Zone Coverage: 3.5
Ball Skills: 3.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.