For a guy who many considered “non-draftable,” Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has turned out OK.
In fact, the undrafted rookie is now the Bengals’ leading tackler, moving past Rey Maualuga last week with 10 stops against the Eagles.
“I think he’s getting more comfortable,” Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer said, via Kevin Kelly of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “He’s had some tough assignments in the last six weeks.”
Since moving into the starting lineup in Week Three, Burfict has logged double-digit tackles in nine games.
If he stays atop the list, he’d become just the fifth rookie to lead the team in tackles, joining Reggie Williams (1976), James Francis (1990), Takeo Spikes (1998) and Odell Thurman (2005).
“I think he just likes playing football,” Zimmer said. “The good thing about him is when he makes a mistake, he can say, ‘Hey that was me. I messed up.’ A lot of times guys don’t know when they messed up. So that’s impressive for a young guy.”
What’s impressive is the way the Bengals were able to work with a guy a lot of teams wouldn’t touch, proving again that the right fit is more important than collecting the shiniest parts when building a team.