Undrafted Vontaze Burfict makes huge impact for Bengals

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The mercurial linebacker has had an outstanding rookie year with the Bengals, after most thought the Arizona State product was never going to pan out in the NFL.

Questions about his character and emotional control kept former Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict from being selected in the 2012 NFL Draft, but the rookie has proved a lot of people wrong this year with the Cincinnati Bengals. Burfict started 14 games for the Bengals this season, and logged the third-most snaps of any defensive player on the team, according to ESPN Stats and Info.

Burfict finished the season with 127 tackles, which was third amongst rookies, and 15th in the entire league. The only two rookies ahead of him, Carolina's Luke Kuechly and Seattle's Bobby Wagner, were taken in the first and second round, respectively.

And Burfict wasn't just an outstanding individual performer, either. The Bengals allowed 2.4 yards per play less when he was on the field, compared to when he was on the sideline, the biggest disparity of any player in the NFL that played at least 500 snaps.

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