Mayock: Bengals’ coaches did great job with “non-draftable” Burfict

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Prior to this year’s NFL draft, analyst Mike Mayock called Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict a “non-draftable kid.” Burfict protested that Mayock was being “hurtful,” but it turned out that the NFL’s 32 teams agreed with Mayock, as Burfict went undrafted.

But the Bengals signed Burfict as an undrafted free agent, and he has played very well, entering the starting lineup in Week Three and starting every game since. On Thursday night, Burfict will start his 12th game of the season, the most ever for an undrafted rookie in Bengals franchise history. So does that make Mayock think he was wrong about his assessment?

Nope. Mayock, who will call Thursday night’s Bengals-Eagles game for NFL Network, told Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he still believes, based on the information available to him at the time of this year’s draft, that “non-draftable” was the correct grade to put on Burfict, who had a disappointing final season at Arizona State and bad workouts at both the Scouting Combine and his Pro Day.

“I was on record as saying point blank on the way he played he was non-draftable. I would still stand by it. I saw the same thing NFL teams saw based on the way he played,” Mayock said.

What has really impressed Mayock is the way the Bengals’ coaching staff has made the most of Burfict’s abilities and turned him into a much different player than the one who was playing for Arizona State a year ago and working out for NFL teams nine months ago.

“I give [the Bengals] a ton of credit, [especially linebackers coach] Paul Guenther,” Mayock said. “First thing they did was get the kid in shape. You could see he was gassed. He looks completely different. I can tell he looks quicker and lighter. He looks like the kid that was advertised a couple years ago. I believe that Cincinnati thought the kid had ability, got him in shape and Guenther has done a good job getting him ready to play.”

The Bengals’ coaches deserve a lot of credit. But Burfict deserves credit too. This “non-draftable kid” has made a bigger impact this season than a whole lot of rookies who were drafted.

36 responses to “Mayock: Bengals’ coaches did great job with “non-draftable” Burfict

  1. Man up Mayock. You got this one wrong with your dramatic, hope-to-grab-a-headline language at draft time.

    Credit also needs to go to the player, not just his “handlers”; he either wasn’t nearly as bad as you made him out to be in the first place, and/or he’s adapted his skill set to match the NFL game in a short amount of time. (Aaron Curry, come on down).

  2. I think they were right, at the time he was undraftable. Who knows, maybe he gets drafted in the 6th or 7th and still feels entitled and ends up getting cut. At least this way he had some say in where he went and in this case it turned out for everyone involved.

    As a Bengals fan, I am happy with his play and that he has kept his nose clean so far. This is another point to support Marvin Lewis as a good coach. He has gotten more out of less since Paul Brown himself, and with Mike Brown in charge, no less. He has his faults, but Marvin has more power than any coach under Brown has ever had. Now he needs to take the team to the next level.

  3. I mean technically…all 32 and mayock were wrong, the bengals didn’t draft him, he was undrafted…we just took a low risk chance and it paid off, but they obviously didn’t feel he was draftable. I’m glad they signed him though, he’s awesome.

  4. fullsharkalligator says:
    Dec 11, 2012 2:08 PM
    Bottom line: Mayock and 31 NFL teams were wrong about him.


    Uhh….The Bengals didn’t draft him either. Mayock said he wasn’t going to be drafted and he wasn’t. He was 100% accurate in his assesment.

  5. He wasn’t wrong… He wasn’t drafted. Now the other 31 teams that did not draft him it is hard to blame them. How many times do teams get bashed for draft busts? This kid had all of the signs of the potential to be a great player and the signs of a draft bust. Looks like the process worked out ok for everyone.

  6. loved the way this kid played great motor runs to the ball very very physical and smart. even though willie colon dragged him around like a piece of meat he still gonna be a good one

  7. Bengals coaches have done a great job, period. Talented young players and veterans, linemen physically and verbally defending their QB at all costs, no bulletin board material or cheap shots coming from team or coaches, and the league-wide perception that you need to fight hard for 60 minutes to win against Cincy.

    On an unrelated note: Wasted potential, Detroit. This could have easily been your team’s description.

  8. I’m glad, for Burfict and society’s sake, that he was able to turn around his attitude and make the most of his chances. He became the player he was destined to be from his freshman year at ASsU and not the slow, fat, personal-foul machine he was his last two years.

    However, now the Bungles coaches will think they can turn around every criminal or kid kicked out of school. Look for the Bungles arrests to rise in the next few years as they draft Honeybadger and others who were booted for DUIs, assaults, robberies, rapes, etc.

  9. Mike Mayock represents why alot of teams suck in the NFL. Scouts cannot tell the difference between a talented kid who is out of shape from a kid without talent. Vontaze Burfict had 1st round talent prior to his junior season at ASU so that means he can play in the NFL. I realize he should have been in shape for his pro day and the combine but no one loses NFL talent in 1 year during their 20’s without a major injury. Scouts focus too much time and energy talking about what a guy cannot do instead of evaluating a player’s skillset to see if it can help a team win games. Scouts need to realize that college football does not send finished products to the NFL. Then again, coaches in the NFL need to be able to develop talent which only a very few can do.

  10. sometimes i wish the lions had taken a chance on him in the late rounds, but then i remember that the culture of little-to-no responsibility for actions here would have ruined this kid, and he probably would’ve washed out by now. good job by the bengals, they turned this kid’s chip on his shoulder into a strength, and they’re getting rewarded for it. and congrats to vontaze for making it and being someone i can root for, not against.

  11. You can bang on Mayock, but I watched a ton of the draft process, even going so far to look up certain players on Youtube and Mayock had a completely accurate perception of Burfict. The kid looked like, and gave every impression, that he didn’t care beyond his own hype. I’m glad for Burfict, he deserves a ton of credit for turning over that leaf, look how many NFL’ers never do. The Bengels look nothing like the team from NFL past and all those coaches are the biggest reason for that.

  12. Maybe the Bengals’ miracle workers can pick up Sergio Kindle and do something with him. The Ravens weren’t up to it, but I don’t think that was much of a surprise.

    I mean, look at their quarterback.

  13. Did I not tell anyone that Mike Zimmer would be a good head-coaching candidate???

    This guy might be the best ( if not one of the best) at putting players in position to succeed!!!

    Philadelphia, when this guy comes into town please chant his name and clamor for him as your newest head coach!!!!

    My goodness. He can be entertaining too!!

  14. The question is not where he is now, the question is where was he during the draft. By the evidence Mayock was right. Also there is nothing that says Burfict wont slip back into bad habits. Mayock takes the long view.

  15. I’m glad he didn’t get drafted because it was a wake up call for him,that being said i am glad he busted his ass and got himself in shape and made himself into a player in this league.I agree with the the earlier poster that said if he was taken early he may not have made it,I will be watching his career at rooting for him to keep doing well

  16. I was much higher on Burfict than Mayock or ANY of the NFL GMs. I made about a half dozen page long posts supporting Burfict and clamoring for the Lions to draft him. I begged and begged and begged, but nobody would listen. I still think he’s going to be a good one and for a great price. Teams don’t know how to evaluate talent and they all want to rely on their egos of being able to say that they can disqualify people that aren’t like them and think the same way.

    But that’s not how it works in the real world and just because somebody has a different attitude than the canned yes-man attitude that weak GMs are only looking for doesn’t mean that somebody can’t play ball and do it well.

  17. I think a large part of why he went undrafted was that he was a knucklehead. If he has matured then great, but I think it’s too early to declare success on turning this kid around.

  18. i live in phoenix and have followed V throughout his career. They were ALL right about this kid…..a real headcase with superman physical abilities…..he had to be humbled to realize he had to play by the rules….kudos to the Bengals and their staff for taking a chance on him, and giving him the guidance he did not get from the now departed coaches at ASU…..glad to see this young man finally grow up mentally, to go along with his BEASTLY physical skills

  19. Worst thing about Thursday night football, having to listen to four quarters of Mike Mayock’s lisp. Can the NFL network actually get announcers who are good at explaining what is happening on the field for once without injecting their own opinions every single play. These guys (specifically Mayock) don’t know have the rules and are TERRIBLE at calling what is actually happening/happened on the field.

  20. I am confused as to how posters on here are stating that Mayock was, ‘wrong’ and, ‘needs to man up.’

    Mike Mayock stated Vontaze Burfict “WAS” non-draftable when he was on the combine circuit and it turns out he was right because he was not drafted.

    Therefore, if person A says person B is non-draftable and person B does not get drafted, person A is right.

    Kudos to Mayock for sticking to his guns and research. He didn’t just grab non-draftable out of thin air, Vontaze underperformed immensely and had character issues so it was a no-brainer to make that statement and he was right.

  21. Mayock wasn’t wrong, the kid wasn’t drafted. All he said was that Burfict wasn’t draftable and 32 GM’s agreed. So don’t mistake that with the fact that he’s played like a top 3 round pick.

  22. Great – thanks for reminding me I have to listen to Mayock on Thursday – absolute worst guy in football broadcasting.

  23. Mayock is good, but he’s just trying to save face by not admitting he missed the mark.

    Burfict, and all the other LBs, are coached up by the same people — yet Burfict, who Mayock boldly asserted was “non-draftable” is the one excelling as a rook.

    Did other teams miss the mark on Burfict too? Absolutely — just as they all did with Tom Brady, Kurt Warner and Arian Foster. But why must Mayock continue to insist that he was “right”? Obviously, in a transparent attempt to save face.

    Mayock should just own it — he is good at what he does, and no one bats a thousand in that gig. By defending the indefensible, he diminishes his credibility regarding all of his other assertions, past or present.

  24. @dalucks

    You’re kidding, right? Showing up to the combine out of shape is like showing up to your Barr exam hung-over. You are flushing money down the tubes. The kid obvioulsy had zero motivation, you can’t draft a kid like that, even with his “Talent”. I was high on the kid after his Sophmore season, pairing him inside with guys like Ray Lewis, David Harris, or even worse, putting him on the ‘9er’s rotation was something I’m sure those GM’s were drooling over that idea. He received national attention, and instead of working hard to be that guy, he let it go to his head and fell off the map. To your point about age, he’s 22, he shouldn’t need anything to motivate him. He has no money, no fame, nothing, that should be his motivation. I can listen to Mike’s draft talk all day long, he’s a straight shooter and more often then not, right on the money. Gotta’ love the arm chair draft analyst’s though, always good for a chuckle.

  25. These comments here are really odd. Everyone is trying to say he is wrong and should admit it but he was 100% correct in what he said. He was not drafted. Why would he say anything otherwise when his prediction came true?

  26. Verdict for me is still out – its too soon for me to get excited like I did for Odell Thurman who was SICK as a rookie and promptly threw it away before year 2….

  27. fullsharkalligator says: Dec 11, 2012 2:08 PM

    Bottom line: Mayock and 31 NFL teams were wrong about him.
    It was 32 teams. Through 7 rounds. The Bengals aren’t the only team that would have signed him as a free agent. And it’s not like every team in the league drafts off Mayock’s board. Mayock said Burfict wasn’t draftable, and he didn’t get drafted. Scoreboard.

  28. All 32 teams and Mayock were absolutely right on Burfict, then, and now. I saw every snap Burfict played at Arizona State and I was sick at him wasting his talent. Burfict however got exactly what he needed, good coaches that believed in him. Burfict deserves credit for doing what he needed to do. But let me tell you anyone who knew about Burfict would have bet he was done long before they bet he would turn it around. I am proud of my fellow Sun Devil. I hope he keeps it up.

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