Vontaze Burfict was a big name when the NFL draft process began and for few of the right reasons.
Considered a first-round pick eight months ago, the Arizona State linebacker followed up a lackluster season that was marred by unsportsmanlike conduct penalties with a so-so scouting combine and pro day. Then, just before the draft, there was a report that he’d flunked a drug test during the combine. Burfict’s stock plummeted and he was not among the players who were drafted.
Over the weekend, the Cincinnati Bengals, needing depth at linebacker, rolled the dice, reaching agreement with him as an undrafted free agent.
Now Burfict must prove he belongs in the NFL. He sounded excited about having Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga as a teammate.
“I’m going to go in the first week and take notes of what he’s doing,” Burfict said of Rey Maualuga. “I’m going to perfect my style of football. Hopefully, I’m either playing beside him, backing up or I’m starting. Either way, I’m happy to be on the team.’’