Artie BurnsCornerbackMiami (Fla.)6-0, 197Miami, Fla.Northwestern High School1st Round – 25th Overall
Started 23-of-36 games for the Miami Hurricanes, recording 93 tackles, to go along with seven interceptions, 14 pass breakups, 2.0 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery…majored in liberal arts.
Earned All-ACC second-team honors…led the ACC with six interceptions, the most by a Hurricane since 2003 (Sean Taylor, 10)…started all 12 games in which he played finishing with 36 tackles, five pass breakups, one fumble recovery and six interceptions…his six interceptions tied as the 10th-most in a single-season in school history…opened the year with an interception in three consecutive games…became first Hurricane since Sean Taylor to record at least one interception in three straight games...recorded his first multi-interception game of career 10/17 vs. Virginia Tech.
Amassed a career-best 40 tackles, appearing in 13 games (11 starts)…set a career high with six tackles 9/20 vs. Nebraska…recorded his first career sack, and he was credited with a game-high three pass breakups 10/11 vs. Cincinnati.
Played in 11-of-13 games, splitting time on defense and special teams...recorded 17 tackles with three pass breakups...averaged 26.1 yards on 10 kickoff returns...hauled in his first career interception 11/29 at Pittsburgh…added two solo tackles and one forced fumble in the Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Louisville.
HIGH SCHOOL Registered 72 tackles, 4.0 sacks, six pass breakups, two interceptions, and he had two kickoff returns for touchdowns at Northwestern High School (Miami, Fla.)…was also one of the nation's top hurdlers, as he earned All-USA high school track and field honors from the *USA Today *in 2011 and 2012.
Post-Pick Press Conference
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.
View photos of Pittsburgh Steelers 2016 1st Round Draft Pick, DB Artie Burns.
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.
Is this a birthday present?
Yes, it's a big birthday present.
Were you surprised Artie?
That's the team I wanted to go to, actually.
Why is that?
After meeting with Mike Tomlin, he was one of the coolest coaches I've met. The players really relate to him. They want to play for him. It has always been a great organization. They play zone defense.
Who would you compare yourself to?
I try to model some things after Patrick Peterson.
Can you talk about your emotions going through this year?
It definitely was a roller coaster. With my mom passing, that was definitely unexpected. That kind of motivated me more to keep on going and that is definitely going to motivate me now to step into the league and win a Super Bowl.
How difficult did the trying circumstances make it to play?
It was difficult at first. The first couple of days and first couple of practices were hard. It hurt, but it's just something you have to deal with. It's something that makes you stronger.
Re: Raising your brothers and your child:
My dad went to jail when I was in the fourth grade. I had to step up and be that male role model to them. We depended on each other. It was a tough transition but also a smooth transition.
Have you still had contact with your father?
Yes. We have a good relationship.
Is he going to get out of jail soon?
They gave him 25 years, and he's done 10 years so far.
Any hope of parole?
He has no parole.
How old are your brothers?
One is 15 and one is 13.
How old is your son?
How has what you've dealt with off the field helped you on the field? Has it made you a better player or helped you to deal with all that stuff?
It's definitely helped me through different situations that I've had to deal with. Tough situations that forced me to stop. I was just facing diversity. You know it helped me a lot, going through all of that and it helped on the field.
What's your son's name?
Why does your skill set translate to the Steelers' defense?
They're known as a tough defense. I'm that kind of guy. I've been watching the Steelers defense since I was young. That's always been my team since I was young. I always idolized them, year in and year out.
Are you a track athlete who plays football? Or a football player who decided to take up track?
Everybody always asks me that. I'm just a pure athlete. I never put one sport in front of the other. I always treated them the same. I just dedicated my time to both of them.
You're not the first person to say they really like Mike Tomlin. What stood out to you that made him the "cool" coach?
Just the way he carried himself and the way he approached people. When he talked to me, I could tell that everything he was saying was legit. He seemed like a genuine person. The way he carries himself, he just has so much swag. Swag that's so natural for a head coach.
When did you know that they were going to pick you?
I didn't know until I got picked.