+Outstanding run blocker in the second level
+Good body control
+Uses good run blocking fundamentals
+Solid on field awareness as a run blocker
+Plays with excellent on field intensity
+Solid pass blocker
-Poor on field awareness as a pass blocker
-Doesn’t keep his head on a swivel
-Mediocre with double
When I rewatched the SEC championship this off-season, I watched every single 2014 draft prospect on each individual play, just because there were so many good matchups in the game that the film was invaluable. I couldn’t miss anything, so, for example, when I watched a play in which Georgia had the ball, I would watch C.J. Mosley the first time, then rewind and watch Ha Ha Clinton Dix, then rewind and watch Arthur Lynch, etc. It took me 4 days to scout the entire game. And among all the guys I saw in that game, Georgia guard Chris Burnette stood out as a pleasant surprise. His masterful run blocking in the second level caught my attention, and I think he’s the most underrated guard I’ve ever scouted.
Burnette has below average measurables. He is extremely short at 6’2, and he doesn’t have Chance Warmack like disproportionately long arms to compensate for it. He has average bulk at 315lbs, and solid speed with a 5.23 40 yard dash, according to NFLDraftScout.com.
Burnette is a great run blocker. On a majority of their run plays, Georgia tells him to ignore the guy in front of him and just zone block anyone he can find in the second level. When he’s asked to do that, he is one of the best run blocking guards you’ll ever see. Burnette is absolutely incredible in the second level, as he has excellent body control and is outstanding at engaging and sustaining blocks in the second level. He can consistently seal off his man, he gets a good initial punch against linebackers in the second level, he has solid lateral quickness, good strength, and functional on field awareness in the second level. He has a little bit of room for improvement in the last respect, but I’ve never seen a lineman in my entire life who, on run plays, blocks linebackers as frequently and as effectively as Burnette does for Georgia. I’ve seen him get beat by C.J. Mosley on one occasion, but aside from that, he has been perfect in the second level in all my film of him. However, when he isn’t in the second level, he is less effective. He gets excellent leverage and is respectable about not leaning on his hands, but his lack of length results in struggles when he is asked to block someone whose arms are of average length for a player 6’4 or taller. Again, this isn’t a problem when he is blocking linebackers. He can hardly touch the pads of these longer players and will struggle as a result. His run blocking is quite similar to that of a really good fullback.
Burnette is a solid pass blocker. He needs to clean up his fundamentals a bit, making a few adjustments as to how he uses his hands to block different pass rush moves and keep his head on a swivel, but in most situations he’s pretty solid. He’s a solid one on one blocker who gets very good leverage and gets a solid initial punch, and his quickness, especially laterally, is above average. He has average balance but excellent flexibility and upper body strength. He definitely has some work to do from an on field awareness perspective and he wears down a bit as the game goes progresses. He has excellent toughness and plays with good on field intensity. His lack of length also causes issues here, but as long as he isn’t blocking someone like Daniel McCullers, he’s usually pretty effective. If he cleans up his fundamentals, his quickness gives him a lot of potential in this respect.
I really like Burnette. It’s really hard to find guys with the body control and quickness to dominate in the second level like Burnette does. I think he will become a starter at the NFL level.
NFL Comparison: Not a lot of good ones, but Ben Grubbs is the only guy who resembles him physically. Grubbs is definitely a few years ahead of Burnette in terms of instincts and fundamentals.
Grade: 88 (worth of an early second, maybe late first round pick)
Projection: 74 (will be a mid third, possibly late third round pick)