Ben Burr-Kirven – Linebacker
School: University of Washington
Weight: 222 lbs
Ben Burr-Kirven NFL Draft Profile
Top 3 Player Traits
When you’re the nation’s leading tackler, you’re definitely a sure tackler, right? Ben Burr-Kirven put together two outstanding seasons in 2017 and 2018, with a combined 260 tackles over his final two seasons at Washington. He had the speed and range to consistently be the first player to the ball, and would always make sure to finish his tackles. His 94 solo tackles were good for second in the nation as well.
Burr-Kirven has the ability to play sideline to sideline. If you watch any UW game over the last two seasons, no matter what the play is, Burr-Kirven is always going to be in on the stop. And even if he’s not in on the stop, number 25 is always in the picture ready to assist. He’s got the kind of speed that should blow up at the NFL Combine.
Endless Motor/ Pursuit
If there’s one thing you’ll never see Burr-Kirven do, it’s give up on a play. He always finishes through the whistle, and no matter if he gets beat, or is nowhere near the play, he’s going to hustle to the very end. It shows best when he’s in pursuit of a ball carrier, he has the motor to track them down from behind and finish the play. He doesn’t on this occasion, but he’s able to get to the ball carrier and slow him down just enough while other Huskies rally to the football.
3 Traits In Need of Improvement
I’ve talked to a scout who told me that Burr-Kirven needs to put on weight and prove that he can play with his same speed at around 230-235 pounds. He’s undersized, listed at exactly 6’0, but he’ll probably come in a few shades under that. His frame allows him to be overtaken easily by offensive linemen when they get to the second level, and in the NFL, a bigger running back would probably be able to take advantage of that frame as well.
His size prevents him from making an impact in the pass rushing game unless he comes unblocked on a blitz. He’s too easily swallowed up anywhere on the offensive line, and while he’s able to get off blocks to support in the run game, he’s not able to get by offensive linemen to get to the quarterback.
All the negatives on Burr-Kirven spurn from his size. It’ll be very hard for him to cover tight ends at the next level because while he can run with them, his frame won’t allow him to reach up and defend a high pass. He can have the ball thrown over his head easily in a zone, and while he’s able to close out on receivers in his zone very well, and has some success in knocking the ball away, there are more negatives than positives.
NFL Team Fits
Thomas Davis Sr. is 35 years old, and who knows how much longer he can keep playing. The Panthers have an excellent trio of linebackers, and sliding Burr-Kirven in for Davis when he retires could prove to be very useful to the Panthers, who rely on a 4-3 scheme. Burr-Kirven will probably be best utilized as an outside linebacker at the next level, so a 4-3 is where he needs to be.
New England Patriots
Another team that runs a 4-3, Dont’a Hightower is aging, and we might see him make a move to defensive end before we know it, and the Patriots need more speed at linebacker. Kyle Van Noy or Ja’whaun Bentley could play inside, with Burr-Kirven sliding in on the outside.
NFL Player Comparison
This is a bad sign for anyone who remembers Wright. Wright was an excellent college player, but like Burr-Kirven didn’t have the ideal size to succeed in the NFL. Can Burr-Kirven succeed? Absolutely. This comp is based off if you watch the tape of both guys side by side, you’ll see the exact same player.