The 2016 NFL Draft is just a week away and teams are starting to ramp up some of their conversations with potential prospects. There have been some odd questions asked this year, including the Atlanta Falcons asking Eli Apple if he liked men, but what teams have been asking Miami cornerback Artie Burns turns out to be a pretty serious question.
Burns has not seen his father, Artie Sr., since he was in the fourth grade.
Last year, following the team’s worst loss in team history, Smith unfortunately and tragically died. This left the young cornerback in a pretty serious predicament.
Burns was left to care for his younger brothers, Thomas, 16, and Jordan, 13, after their father was incarcerated on a 25-year cocaine charge. If that isn’t bad enough, Burns also has a 19-month-old son, which just adds to the immense pressure already on his back.
Because of this, just about every team who has interviewed Burns, who will be 21 on May 1 just a day after the draft ends, about his mental stability.
“Every team asks me about it,” Burns told the Palm Beach Post. “That’s a big concern — to see if I’m mentally stable.”
Burns has been alone with his son and younger brothers, but he has had massive support from the Hurricane community. Fans raised more than $40,000 for him on a GoFundMe page in less than six hours, while his teammates helped him through the grieving process.
One of his teammates believes that the strength he has shown in the last six months is going to help him in the long run when it comes to his NFL career.
“He just had a lot of strength, man,” former UM safety Deon Bush said. “I remember at the hospital, a lot of people knew she was passing. He knew his brothers were watching, seeing how he was going to react. He was strong enough to be an example for them.”
NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. has Burns going in the first round next week, but if he sticks around to the second, his hometown Miami Dolphins have the chance to pick up the talented defensive back.
Last year, he led the ACC in interceptions with six and also recorded 36 tackles on the year. He has shown his athleticism along with his strength off the field and that is more than enough to get him selected in the draft next week.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports