TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24: Vontaze Burfict #7 of the Arizona State Sun Devils points and yells at quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the University of Southern California Trojans just prior to a play at Sun Devil Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
- Heading into the draft, Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict is considered a first-round draft pick and a carbon copy of future hall of famer Ray Lewis.
- As the draft nears, Burfict tumbles down big boards like he's the puck in plinko. He says the wrong things, he puts on too much weight, works out poorly and people hate him.
- Burfict is considered one of the riskier players in the 2012 NFL draft.
- Burfict goes undrafted.
- Burfict signs with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent.
I've seen one of two things online since it was announced that Burfict will be joining the Bengals this offseason. One is that this was a smart move for the team and the other goes along the line "it figures the Bengals would sign a guy like Burfict."
Vontaze Burfict is a talented middle linebacker and to say otherwise would be like saying soccer is as cool as football. He hits hard and he's got a mean streak, which is a necessity for an NFL inside linebacker. Are there questions about his ability and his attitude and his ability to produce in the NFL? Absolutely, that's why he wasn't drafted. Does he have the potential to make a huge impact? Yes.
How many undrafted free agents have the Bengals signed in the last 10 years that they have decided weren't worth keeping and were cut? The answer to that question is I have no clue because the number is way too high to actually count. What did the Bengals lose when they cut those players? That's an easier question to answer, because that answer is next to nothing.
If Burfict can pull his head out of where ever it is and turn into the player that the entire NFL knows he can be, the Bengals made the signing of the last five years. If he punches everybody in the locker room and takes a dump on the 50-yard line and the team cuts him, they lose nothing. Basically, the Bengals rolled a pair of loaded dice on this signing because they'll win either way. If it works out, awesome for them. If it doesn't work out, they're in no worse shape than they were before they signed him, so again, awesome for them.
I'd be singing a totally different tune if the Bengals had used a draft pick on Burfict, because if it didn't work out then you lost a draft pick, but that's not the case. Who knows what Burfict will do. I'm not expecting to see him on the final roster, but if he is on the final roster it will be because he learned from being passed over 253 times. Who knows if that stung enough to get his head straight. In the end, who really cares because the Bengals are in a good situation when it comes to Burfict.
So, for all of those guys and gals thinking that this is just the same old Bengals making the same old mistakes by drafting the same old thug players, think again because this was a really smart move by a team that has been making some pretty smart moves lately.