Vontaze Burfict going into the draft was a very hot topic, but not for his play. A couple days before the draft, news came out from Jay Glazer at Fox Sports that Vontaze along with Jayron Hosley both failed drug tests at the Combine. This was just the nail in the coffin for the 6’2, 248 pound linebacker from Arizona State. As the draft went on Burfict was waiting to hear his name called. At the end of the 7th round when the last pick was made, Burfict’s phone began to blow up. More than one team was calling for his services, but when Vontaze answered the call from Marvin Lewis it was different. Marvin had told him that he had been following him the entire draft, and they were keeping close tabs on him. This was smart, because whether or not he has had some on the field problems, his play has been good. Last year, his stats were not great, but he was still a very good player for ASU. If Vontaze can turn his act around, and take this opportunity serious, he could be a starter week one. I know you are thinking to yourself, NO WAY? Well let me explain something a little more in detail. The Baltimore Ravens really wanted Vontaze as well, but Vontaze chose the Bengals because he really hit it off with Marvin Lewis. The roster was also another reason I am sure that Vontaze chose the Bengals, if you look at the situation he made his first smart football move.
The Bengals inside linebacker is Rey Maualuga facing a suspension from an incident that occurred earlier this year. This is his second arrest and because it is his second offense it will fall under the league’s substance abuse policy where he would be facing a suspension. Usually it carries a couple game suspension, but he has to be charged with the crime. He was fined for the last incident, and the second offense is where Goodell will step in. So with Maualuga technically facing a suspension, who could replace him?
Bengals have a couple guys that could replace him, Micah Johnson the ILB from Kentucky could come in and replace Rey, but why not Vontaze? He is the only other real Mike linebacker on the team. This could get interesting people. If he can put the past behind him, and get over the fact he wasn’t drafted, he could come in and succeed immediately. Going undrafted could have been the best situation for the feisty inside linebacker.
If Burfict can get over the fact that he was laughing stock of the NFL draft by most media people and use that as motivation going into this rookie camp, he could very well take over, and with a little guidance from a guy like Marvin Lewis, you might be looking at the next big steal in the NFL Draft. Victor Cruz meet Vontaze Burfict, we shall see what step he takes going forward. Bengals mini camp begins May 11th -13th.