Burks is known by his teammates as a leader by example. He has taught alignment responsibilities to his teammates. He communicates well as the plan adjusts pre-snap. His work ethic is evident—he returned to school to improve his pass rush ability.
Noah Burks projects as a rotational 3-4 outside linebacker, allowing him to drop into the curl/flats zone and rushing the passer. He is a former 3-star recruit out of Carmel High School. His father, Jeff Burks, played on the offensive line for Butler University. Burks is a sixth-year senior and leader for the Badgers defense. He is an intelligent football player that helped his teammates learn alignments and keys. He’s at his best when attacking downhill and setting edges against the run. He does not provide explosive athleticism or change of direction in space—this limits his ability to cover. He is a high-energy and high-motor player. A role on special teams should be in his future at the next level.
Ideal Role: Rotational OLB
Scheme Fit: 3-4 attacking defense
Written by Damian Parson
Games watched: Notre Dame (2021), Michigan (2021), Eastern Michigan (2021), Iowa (2021)
Best Game Studied: Iowa (2021)
Worst Game Studied: Eastern Michigan (2021)
Tackling: Burks is a reliable form tackler. He locates the ball-carrier and squares up his target for contact. Sinks his hips and drives through the opponent with proper technique. He rarely misses tackles.
Football IQ/Instincts: Burks is one of the smartest defenders on his team. He knows both boundary and field responsibilities/keys. Diagnoses run and pass with quickness to drive and pursue the ball.
Competitive Toughness: Burks is a great competitor with a good and consistent motor. His effort is relentless. He pursues plays from anywhere on the field, playside and backside.
Pass Coverage Ability: He is a limited participant in pass coverage. He lacks the athleticism and movement skills to mirror in man coverage. He is at his best dropping to a designated spot in zone coverage. The curl to flat and hook zones are the areas he occupies best.
Run Defending: He’s an active participant as a run defender. Aligned as the outside linebacker, Burks sets a hard and strong edge. He funnels plays back inside to his help. Lacking quick twitch ability, if a RB bounces runs outside, Burks can struggle to make up ground.
Block Deconstruction: Burks will meet the blockers with physicality. On the perimeter, he uses a strong two-hand jam to keep separation, allowing him to disengage to pursue football. He counters off the two-hand jam with a push, pull, and rip combination to attack the backfield.
Lateral Mobility: Burks is not a twitchy athlete or mover. He has shown solid hip fluidity to move laterally.
Flexibility: Burks has solid fluidity. It shows up in his zone drops and turns to drive on routes. Sufficient change of direction ability to adjust to the football. As a pass rusher, he does not have the knee or hip bend to dip and duck under blocks.
Leadership: Burks is known by his teammates as a leader by example. He has taught alignment responsibilities to his teammates. He communicates well as the plan adjusts pre-snap. His work ethic is evident—he returned to school to improve his pass rush ability.
Versatility: He can play the boundary and field outside linebacker positions. Offers rushing and coverage value for a 3-4 defensive front. Burks is a consistent participant on special teams, providing value on punt coverage and field goal units.
TDN Consensus: 68.75/100 (Sixth Round Value)
Crabbs Grade: 66.50/100
Parson Grade: 71.00/100