Several similarities exist between college free agent linebacker Jayson DiManche and Vontaze Burfict.
Both are linebackers that went undrafted and signed with the Cincinnati Bengals; something other teams regret not taking a risk on. Burfict's case is extremely well documented, but former Southern Illinois linebacker is walking a similar path.
Having signed the second-highest signing bonus among all undrafted free agents, DiManche countered some of the predraft analysis on him by gaining nearly 40 pounds from his final season in college to last week's weigh ins. Plus he had a good performance against the Atlanta Falcons last Thursday.
One NFC Scout (perhaps employed by the Falcons) told Mark Eckel with the New Jersey Times that they made a mistake.
"We (messed) up," an NFC scout said last week after watching DiManche play well in his first preseason game against Atlanta. "We had him rated and we went a different way. We should have drafted him. By the time we called, he signed with Cincinnati."
"The kid’s not bad at all," the scout said. "He was a little undersized in school and a little raw, but he made plays. I don’t think he was coached real well in college. They kind of freelanced a lot. You see him now, with the way they’re using him, and it’s no secret he should have been drafted."
DiManche believes he's in a great situation and loves the coaching staff in Cincinnati.
"No disrespect to anyone else, but my coach (linebackers coach Paul Guenther) is the best coach I’ve ever had," DiManche told NY.com, "and I’ve only been around him a couple of months."
With an opportunity to make the 53-man roster (it's unlikely he'll clear waivers for the practice squad), DiManche began to impress the coaching staff since the beginning of the team's rookie minicamp in May.
"He had the numbers of a fourth-round pick," Mike Zimmer said. "The position drills, the pass-run reaction, the 39 (inches) vertical and the almost 11 (feet) broad jump were obviously impressive. And the way he flipped his hips and exploded off the edge, you just had to get teams to watch him."