NFL DRAFT DIAMONDS

Mike Zimmer says Vontaze Burfict is turning into a leader for the Bengals

Vontaze Burfict entered the league cast off  on draft boards due partly to the edge and emotion he too often allowed to unravel him at Arizona State. He also had a failed urinalysis at the Scouting Combine which really hurt his stock.  He restored his image during a rookie year featuring a spotless season on and off the field, leading the team with 174 tackles and, most importantly, zero distractions.

Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer set out to unload more responsibility on Burfict this season. Zimmer loves his characteristics as a linebacker – emotional and edgy, intelligent and intense.

“It’s time for him to start being more of a leader type of a guy,” Zimmer said. “A year ago he was a young guy and now he is starting to really come into his own. It’s a process everybody starts. I’ve talked to him about being more of a leader and taking charge of things.”

Last week Vontaze was given the game ball against Detroit after racking up 13 tackles, 2 for loss and 2 passes defended.  Burfict is turning into one of the better linebackers in the NFL folks, and he was not drafted.  Great success story here.

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