The Florida Gators had nine players invited to the NFL Combine, but Amari Burney was not one of them. After five seasons in Gainesville, Gator fans could attest that Burney is an athletic linebacker that struggled with the finer points of the position.
The Las Vegas Raiders saw Burney at Florida’s Pro Day and decided to take a 6th Round flyer on the versatile player.
Amari Burney: Deceptively fast
At Florida’s Pro Day, Burney was clocked at running the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds. Listed at 6’2″ and 228 pounds, it was a time that immediately turned heads and gave him a shot at getting drafted.
We here at Hail Florida Hail still viewed Burney as an undrafted free agent, but part of what the Raiders had to also like was that while Burney played linebacker with Florida, he took part in the DB drills during Pro Day.
That potential versatility will be massive if Burney hopes to stick around through training camp and make the 53-man roster. While he had some good moments at Florida, notably his game winning interception on the goal line against Utah, he also struggled with some of the finer points of the position.
His stat line from his 2022 campaign was productive, racking up 79 tackles, nine of which for a loss. But even with his athleticism, Burney struggled with one-on-one coverage and was prone to miss tackles in the open field.
Like a lot of late round picks, Amari Burney will need to make a home for himself on special teams while he improves upon his play recognition and learns the NFL game. But given his 4.54 40, that might be part of what Las Vegas has in mind.
And, considering Vegas was third worst in the NFL when it came to sack percentage, getting a sack on just 4.38% of passing plays, having an athletic outside linebacker that can get to the QB might just be what the Raiders need to help turn things around.