Vontaze Burfict led the Bengals with 127 tackles this season.Vontaze Burfict may have gone undrafted in 2012, but his performance and impact this season was nothing close to that of an undrafted rookie.
Despite not playing in Week 1, Burfict ended up logging the third-most snaps for a Cincinnati Bengals defensive player, and started every game from Weeks 3 to 17.
Most Tackles by a Rookie
Burfict led the Bengals with 127 tackles this season, five more than Rey Maualuga, who was on field for 134 more plays. Burfict also led the team with 7.5 tackles for loss.
The 127 tackles were the 15th-most in the NFL this season, and ranked third amongst rookies. Only eight players had more tackles than Burfict after he earned the starting job in Week 3.
He saved his best effort for the final game of the season against the Baltimore Ravens, when he recorded 18 tackles in the 23-17 win. Only one player had more tackles in a game this season – London Fletcher with 20 against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5.
Burfict’s undrafted status was in part due a poor combine performance, where he ran the 40-yard dash in 5.09 seconds. That time though was clearly not the best representation of his talent.
Bengals Defense This Season
With Vontaze Burfict On/Off Field
Of the players with a 40-yard dash time of 5.0 seconds or worse at the combine since 2006, Burfict is the only non-defensive lineman to have recorded a tackle this season.
Burfict’s presence on field made a notable difference for the Bengals this season. When Burfict was on field, the Bengals defense allowed 2.4 yards fewer per play compared to when he was off the field.
How big of an impact was that? There were 230 players this season who were on field for at least 500 plays and off the field for 100-or-more plays. In that sample, no player’s team took a bigger hit when going off field than the Bengals did with Burfict.