Oakland Raiders 2012 Draft Wishlist No. 1: MLB Vontaze Burfict
Throughout the entire preseason, a reoccurring theme for the Raiders defense was that they were too soft against the run. Not only did the Raiders have trouble stopping runners of the opposite team, they had trouble getting to the quarterback, even against teams with weak offensive lines such as San Francisco and Seattle—something quite surprising for a team who has one of the best defensive lines in the entire National Football League.
However, this is was just preseason, so take those stats with a grain of salt. Something the Raider Nation shouldn't take with a grain of salt is the poor play of outside linebacker Quentin Groves. Of the Raiders front seven, Groves is the only player who doesn't command the entire coaching staff's respect. Look no further than the preseason to see examples of this. While the other defensive starters got off the field after a few drives, it was Groves who was left on the field for further evaluation.
Now, there are many reasons why Quentin Groves struggles. He doesn't trust his eyes. He doesn't play with enough physicality. He's playing out of position at outside linebacker after spending a lot of time at defensive end while at Auburn. The fact is, he's the main weakness of the Raiders front seven.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, the Raiders need to find a replacement for Quentin Groves, and it looks like they've already gotten started when they put a large amount of faith into Travis Goethel, who unfortunately had his season end due to an injury.
Ironically, the focus of this article just happened to attend the same college Goethel did. If you couldn't tell by the title or the image, I'm talking about the freak they call Vontaze Burfict. Burfict has been widely regarded as the hands down best linebacker in the entire nation. I have not heard of the guy until this year, but as soon as I looked up some YouTube videos, it didn't take me long to fall in love with the guy. The first player I thought of was Ray Lewis, followed by Patrick Willis. The guy is incredibly fast, has amazing range, and hits harder than a speeding 18-wheeler.
The only knock on Burfict is that he has character issues. Perfect. And no, I'm not speaking sarcastically. Throughout all of training camp and the preseason, Hue Jackson has been talking about building a bully. Vontaze Burfict is the perfect fit for the Oakland Raiders. In all, Burfict is a physical specimen.
Burfict is one of the most versatile players I've seen in a long time. His speed, strength, and incredible skills can easily help Burfict transition to outside linebacker if he were to join the Raiders. He is a smart player who can drop back into coverage. He has the rushing ability to get past any blocker and lay the smack down on any quarterback. He has the play reading ability to diagnose the run play and swiftly get into the backfield to bring down the running back. These are all vital for a future All-Pro linebacker.
Honestly, can you imagine a linebacking corps consisting of Rolando McClain, Kamerion Wimbley, and Vontaze Burfict? Pardon my lameness, but Burfict is Perfect for the Raiders.
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