Kevin Burnett is an all-around playmaker who is excellent in space. The Chargers originally signed him with the idea that — if he failed to pan out as an every-down linebacker — they would use him in their nickel packages. Burnett quickly proved himself as an every-down player, however, especially during his second season in lightning bolts (his first season was quieter as he battled nagging injuries and adjusted to a new system).
He is a smooth athlete who can cover ground quickly. He is fluid enough to stick with tight ends and running backs, be it in man or zone coverage. He is not as strong playing downhill and was usually taken out in short-yardage and goal-line situations, but his tackle numbers (he had 95 last season alone) show he knows how to sift through traffic and make plays.
The Chargers wanted to re-sign Burnett badly. He was one of three in-house priority targets along with FS Eric Weddle and RT Jeromey Clary. However, when the bidding war on Weddle forced San Diego to bust its budget, there was no longer any money to spare for Burnett. But make no mistake, he is "the one who got away" in the mind of GM A.J. Smith.
He is a high-character player who won't make waves in the clubhouse or get in trouble away from the field.