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Oakland Raiders Week 1 Star: Miles Burris

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Jeff SpiegelContributor IISeptember 14, 2012

When your team is without a pick in the first 94 selections of the NFL Draft, it's hard to get excited about the process and, sometimes, even the players they pick.

So when the Oakland Raiders selected linebacker Miles Burris with their second pick of the draft, there wasn't exactly a flood of excitement running through Raider Nation (although, I will admit, I remember reading a draft recap the next day and seeing some analyst, I don't even remember who, saying Burris could be a sleeper for the Raiders).

Fast forward a few months and Burris had played well enough during training camp and the preseason to earn the starting outside linebacker position alongside Rolando McClain and Phillip Wheeler. Of course, if Aaron Curry were healthy, chances are Burris would be a backup.

So, as Monday Night Football kicked off, there were a number of positional groups that worried me, and linebacker was definitely one of them. I mean, the Raiders were starting McClain, who has been good but not great, Wheeler, who was a newcomer and Burris, a rookie.

Not exactly the recipe for a world-class group.

Monday night, however, they could have fooled me.

Standing behind Oakland's fearsome defensive line, the linebackers stuffed the run and limited Antonio Gates in the passing game as part of an impressive overall defensive performance.

And at the heart of it? That not-so-inspiring rookie linebacker.

Burris finished the game with a total of nine tackles, seven of which were solo and two of which were behind the line.

In fact, he led the entire team in all three categories.

So while people out there are looking for negatives in Oakland's week one loss, of which there are plenty, let this serve as a reminder that there were a number of positives as well.

Namely, Miles Burris.

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