But following the 2009 season, Burden went to the Kentucky coaching staff. He knew his ceiling for playing time at defensive end was low. So he asked for the opportunity to compete for a spot on the offensive side of the ball, and the team took a flyer on his request.
The coaches made good on their promise to allow Burden to compete three years ago. And their promise paid off quickly as they found a starting left tackle for the next two seasons.
Burden started 11 games at left tackle his junior season but missed out on Kentucky's BBVA Compass Bowl appearance due to a torn labrum, which required surgery at seasons end.
The injury took longer than anticipated to heal and even longer for Burden to regain the previous season's strength.
A healthy Burden in 2011 would have likely had many projecting him as high as rounds five or six. So with a slow start in 2011 and a short film real, many see Burden as a potential rookie free agent.
But thanks to their trade with New England a year ago for the rights to Jarad Page, the Chiefs landed an extra seventh round pick. So this is the place to draft a project that might otherwise be swooped up by another NFL team within hours of the completion of the draft later this month.
At 6-4, 315lbs, Burden is a project with maximum upside. He held his own in arguably the NCAA's toughest conference, the SEC. With Burden, the Wildcats were second in the league for fewest quarterback sacks allowed.
Despite starting the season slow, Burden was a leader in the Kentucky locker room and often praised his defense for carrying the offense through their struggles. This kind of leadership in combination for Burden's known affection for the film room makes him and enticing prospect for the Chiefs.
Chiefs General Manager, Scott Pioli, loves team leaders and character guys. But even more,he likes to create situations for players to overcome the odds and prove people wrong. Pioli believes these situations can be contagious and what could be more inspiring than a guy taking a chance on his dream like Burden is attempting to do.
The Chiefs already have project tackle David Mims but if incumbent starter Barry Richardson is not on the roster in 2012 (which nearly everyone is in agreement) than the Chiefs have a shortage in tackle depth.
Pioli believes in stockpiling marque position players and none could be more important than offensive tackle. Although Burden may need some seasoning, his transformation from defensive end to starting left tackle in the SEC, is nothing short of remarkable.
If he can continue to progress at the same rate in the NFL, Burden could offer some much needed depth for the Chiefs offensive line.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
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