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)
Vontaze Burfict: 6'3", 250lbs, 21 years old
Roddrick Muckelroy: 6'2", 240lbs, 25 years old
Who emerges in this linebacker battle?
The story on Burfict is well known in Cincinnati. His reputation precedes him. For all the talent, his attitude supposedly held him back and enough so that no team chose to take a select him in the NFL Draft. The Bengals eventually decided to give him a shot as an undrafted free agent.
Roddrick Muckelroy, on the other hand, has slightly flown under the radar this offseason. Selected in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Muckelroy had a rather pedestrian rookie season and then tore his Achilles the following training camp.
Geoff Hobson on Bengals.com calls this battle a "camp highlight". He also speaks highly on Burfict:
Vontaze Burfict: Remember him? He came into the spring camps like Public Enemy No. 1 and simply left as No. 55 with a shot at making the team. Burfict signed as this year's most celebrated undrafted free agent with a lot of baggage when it came to fundamentals and maturity, but after a maze of interviews that first day he went about his business and impressed the club with how he learned the playbook and got in the right place.
That's the thing to remember about Burfict--he still needs to make the team. And if indeed his mind is in the right place, then expect him to compete at the highest level to prove he belongs on this team.
Muckelroy has a lot to prove as well. Surely, he has bigger plans than just making the team or being primarily a special teams player like he was in 2010. Bengal fans have high hopes for him as well.