Cincinnati Bengals starting linebacker Vontaze Burfict asserted himself as one of the league’s best LBs last season by breaking out in just his second season in the NFL. Tackles aren’t everything and can be bloated, but Burfict’s 170 league-leading tackles last year underscore just how good he is at getting to the ball-carrier and making plays. Burfict doesn’t rack up garbage tackles either, as he plays on an excellent defense and is also very good at impacting the passing game when needed due to his pass rushing and coverage ability. Just 23, the former Arizona State star is poised to receive a lucrative extension as his contract winds down, and the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported this morning that he and the Bengals are talking about what should be a “big extension”.
Burfict three sacks and eight passes defended last season to go with those whopping 170 tackles, and he had a role in four turnovers last year after being a part of only two (recovered fumbles) as a rookie. He was still solid as a rookie, though, with 125 tackles, but he exploded onto the scene last year as a true star and impact player on defense in this league.
Even after losing Michael Johnson in free agency, the Bengals defense is still one of the most impressive in the league due to the likes of Burfict, Vincent Rey, Leon Hall, Carlos Dunlap, and the unstoppable Geno Atkins. It’s almost scary to think how good they could be if they are able to land another top cornerback in this year’s draft.