INDIANAPOLIS - In the days leading up to the NFL Combine, whenever Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly was mentioned, the phrase “more athletic than he gets credit for’’ usually followed.
Kuechly yesterday showed just how athletic he is, posting top-five results for the linebacker group during every measured drill.
He clocked 4.58 seconds in the 40-yard dash (third-best among linebackers), 6.92 seconds in the three-cone drill (fourth), was third in the 20-yard shuttle (4.12 seconds), and tied for the fastest 60-yard shuttle (11.43 seconds).
Kuechly also showed explosion with a 38-inch vertical leap (third) and a broad jump of 10 feet 3 inches (fifth).
“I think that’s one thing about the Combine - it gives you an opportunity to show you can move in different scenarios; there’s different timed drills as well as position drills led by coaches,’’ Kuechly said on Sunday. “I think it’s an opportunity for me to show I can move well.’’
Kuechly was asked what he thought he needed to prove to league coaches and personnel executives. The Cincinnati native measured 6-3, 242 pounds during his weigh-in; he’s put on 5 pounds since the end of BC’s season.
“That was one of the big things coming in: I had to prove I was a sufficient size,’’ he said. “The biggest thing was being able to move with the weight I have. That was something I’ve been working on. I think right now I’m comfortable where I am.’’
Kuechly has long been projected as a good fit for Philadelphia; the Eagles are weak at inside linebacker and hold the 15th pick. If he opened enough eyes yesterday, he might not be there when Philadelphia’s turn in the first round comes.
Burfict far from perfect
On the other end of the spectrum was Arizona State’s Vontaze Burfict. The linebacker has been sliding backward since being named an All-American as a sophomore, and did nothing to help his cause in on-field drills, running 5.09 seconds in the 40, and posting just a 30-inch vertical and broad jump of 8-8.
His final season with the Sun Devils did not go well (he admitted to a locker-room fight with a teammate last fall); when he met with the media at the Combine, Burfict claimed that he’s “misunderstood’’ and laid some of the blame for his poor play in 2011 on the Arizona State coaching staff - a no-no.
Before the Combine, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said of Burfict, “I’m not a fan at all. I just watched a bunch of his tape the other day. I came away unimpressed.
“His instincts aren’t good. He gets enveloped by bigger bodies and he runs around blocks . . . I don’t see first round at all.’’
More golf for Belichick
Bill Belichick will play in the Honda Classic Kenny G Pro-Am tomorrow at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Belichick played in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am earlier this month and finished third with partner Ricky Barnes . . . Patriots receiver Julian Edelman will ride the Zamboni tonight at the Bruins’ game against the Senators.