Kevin Colbert and Coach Tomlin Re: Artie Burns
Kevin Colbert: Good evening, everybody. We’re proud and excited to get the cornerback from the University of Miami, Artie Burns. He’s a solid young man. He had a little bit of a tragedy issue with his mother passing during the season, but he fought his way through that, came out the other side and put together a solid year. He ended up with six interceptions and put himself as one of the top corners in this draft class. We’re really starting to see this draft class with the corners coming together. I think back in November when we went to Florida, some scouts and myself, started to get a feel that this would be a strong corner class. We said that the other day and it turned out to be just that. We’re very, very fortunate that he was available to us and we’re excited to have him.
Mike Tomlin Opening Statement: There’s a lot to be excited about Artie. He’s a third year player. He has a lot of growth potential. We’re excited about the upsides. He’s a master at bump corner, it appears to be something that’s a natural element of his game. He’s good at the ball, he’s good with the ball down the field. He’s right at six feet [tall] or just under. He has elite speed. He’s a track man also down there at Miami. We’re just really excited about him in general. Good player to work with and motivated. He can get things going for us in 2016.
Re: If the rainy weather affected Miami’s pro day:
KC: It didn’t start out that way. At the beginning of the program, during the indoor portion, it was beautiful and sunny. University of Miami doesn’t have an indoor facility so we went outside and it started to pour. Those kids went through the drill work regardless and we watched them. They did what they could but it really wasn’t indicative of what you wanted to see, but it was the best we could do. I give the kids credit, all the kids that worked out that day for putting up with some miserable conditions.
Re: Gleaning anything from that day:
MT: We went out to dinner with Artie the night before to get an opportunity to visit with him and his teammates in an informal way because there’s a lot of information gathered at Pro Days other than the workouts. Obviously he was a participant in Indianapolis as well. We gained a lot of information, maybe not the drill work information that you’re looking for because of the weather.
How would you describe Burns’ character?
KC: Artie is a special kid. As I mentioned, his mother passed away right in the middle of the season. He has a child. He’s in a relationship with the mother of the child. It’s solid. He has three younger brothers that really have fallen under his care after his mother’s passing. It will be a challenge for him, but I give the kid a lot of credit for doing what he’s doing and really putting his career aside because he’s going to take care of his family first and foremost. I think that says a lot about his character. It will be a challenge for him. It’s a lot to undertake. It will be part of our duties to help him succeed in that venture. I really think it speaks volumes about his character.
Did you see him play at the University of Pittsburgh vs. University of Miami game this year?
KC: Yes, I was at that game. It was good. He had the interception early. Then he tweaked his knee a little bit. Then he was able to get back in and finish the game. We did see that game among others. Of course we saw all the video. I agree with coach. This is one kid that when you really started to study him, he was as natural in bump-and-run coverage as any of the corners in this draft. Again, this was as good a group of corners as I’ve seen since I’ve been doing this. Collectively, it was strong. You could see that, as I said, in November when you started to hear about some of the underclassmen that were going to be added to the senior group. This kid was certainly amongst that group. Like I said, we were fortunate. The strength of this draft was in the secondary. It just matched up with where we were picking.
What was it about Burns that made you choose him over another corner?
KC: We’ll never talk about another kid other than to say that we’re extremely happy to have this one. I think there’s a premium. In the NFL right now, there are big receivers. When you look for the corner and you can find someone with that kind of length and that kind of speed, that kind of athleticism and you couple that with the six interceptions – that was very, very impressive. And he’s still young. I mean he needs work. He’ll need work on his off-coverage. He’ll need work on his zone coverage. He’s a third-year junior. He’s only played three years. He’s only started two. There is a ton up of upside with him. As we always say with the junior kids, we’ll get him for his senior year. We’ll work with him. I know Coach is excited. He likes to get those young guys and take them and mold them into what we need.
Does he compare to Bryant McFadden?
KC: No, I don’t athletically they were comparable. They were different types of athletes. It’s just a different description – body, size, and all of that type of thing. I never really made that comparison. I don’t really know who to compare him to. Again, he’s a six-foot corner that can run and has produced.
How easy was it to make this pick?
KC: It was really easy. It was breaking pretty tight quite honestly. We really felt that we had a good chance to get a corner. Again, it was quality from top to bottom. There is still quality left at that position. There are several players on that board at the corner position that still could be starters in the league. We were just fortunate that he made it to us. Complete Draft Coverage www.nfl.com