The Cincinnati Bengals gave Vontaze Burfict his first taste of NFL action on Sunday against the Browns. He was originally expected to start in place of the injured Thomas Howard, but the Bengals opened up in a nickel package so he ended up coming off the bench and playing 22 snaps at strong-side linebacker.
Despite reports prior to the game that Burfict would be the Bengals starter, actions speak louder than words. Burfict and Manny Lawson each played 22 snaps on Sunday, indicating that the job is still very much up for grabs in Howard’s absence.
Cincinnati Bengals undrafted free agent Vontaze Burfict is reportedly on the bubble for making the final 53-man roster according to Paul Dehner Jr., of CBS Sports. Burfict has been competing with Roddrick Muckelroy for the backup job behind Rey Maualuga.
Frankly, the fact that he’s even in the conversation is a big win for Burfict. He may be worth developing, but unless he has improved by leaps and bounds this offseason, he isn’t ready for the NFL. Since the Bengals consider themselves serious contenders in the AFC, it would come as a surprise if they used a roster spot on a rookie with significant development still needed.