Thursday, June 27, 2013

IDP - On The Rise! - Vontaze Burfict


It’s been a world of twirls for Vontaze Burfict, who was once rated as one of the top linebackers entering the 2012 NFL Draft.  He had on and off the field incidents at Arizona State and then failed a drug test during the NFL Combine; scouts were questioning his work ethic, his attitude towards the game most thought Burfict was done and he wouldn’t have a career in the NFL.  There was one man who saw something else; his name is Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis; he mentioned he seen something special in Burfict.  Surprisingly Burfict went the entire 2012 NFL Draft without hearing his name get called, he didn’t give up and he got a call from Marvin Lewis and the gamble paid off; tremendously. 

Vontaze went from a first round talent to an undrafted rookie trying to make a name for him; he signed a minimum salary contract with Cincinnati.  In Cincinnati his teammates embraced him and the veterans took him under their wing; he felt welcomed.  Burfict became focused and studied tape to better dissect NFL offenses.  He improved his conditioning and delivered consistent play that shown the potential he was capable of coming out of Arizona State. 

Burfict has said “it doesn’t matter if you’re the 1st pick, last pick or went undrafted.  You’re still a rookie at the end of the day.  You’re still able to go in with your chin up ready to go if your number is called.  Just do the little things right and you’ll be alright.”   Looks like Vontaze nailed it with that right there as he also stated “all I needed was a chance” and he got that chance when Thomas Howard went down to a season ending injury and from week 3 onward Burfict was in the starting lineup.  He started at WLB (Weakside Linebacker) and had the best rookie season for an undrafted free agent in Bengals history.  Not only have we seen a new Burfict, the potential that he has but he also led the Bengals in tackles with 127 (73 solo).  He had big games for Cincy and his IDP owners; in week 7 vs PIT he had 13 solo tackles.  Then in week 17 vs BAL he had 18 total tackles (10 solo) he’s on the rise and you should take notice if you haven’t already. 

Vontaze is focused now and ready to take the next level as he is well on his way to becoming one of the better LB’s in the game today and is on the brink of becoming a household name in the world of IDP.  His ceiling is LB1 but you’re going to get him as a LB2 value in 2013 and if you want to trade for him, now is the time.  Burfict is easily the best LB on the Bengals roster and if he moves to the middle in 2013, he will put up even better numbers with the possibility of leading the league in tackles.  He knows he’s solid vs the run but has to work on his coverage skills but Burfict is on the verge of becoming his ’10 self and stardom.  He’s creeping up draft boards and rising up ranking sheets; I’m not surprised.  If you play in a tackle heavy league, Burfict has borderline LB1 value. 

You should only be rooting for this guy; he beat the odds and he’s proving his doubters wrong.
2012 season: 127 total tackles (73 solo) 2FR 2PD 1QB Sack
2013 projection: 149 total tackles (91 solo) 2QB Sacks 2FR 5PD 1INT 2FF

Brandon “Bee” Salamat
DSE Lead IDP Analyst

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