The Oakland Raiders never thought Miles Burris would be starting his rookie season when they drafted him in the fourth-round of the 2012 NFL Draft. However, circumstances arose and Burris made 15 starts as a rookie, racking up 96 stops. He was by no means a finished product, but to get that much out of a rookie was promising. His second year would be when Burris could really take the next step. That was not the case as Burris could not shake an injury and missed most of the season.
Burris had knee surgery in January before last season. The recovery was slow. The team thought he would be ready for training camp, but that never materialized. Certainly, he would be healthy for the season. No again. Burris was placed on the physically unable to perform list, ensuring that he would miss the first six weeks of the 2013 season. It was not until week 12 against the Tennessee Titans when Burris finally made it back onto the field.
The lingering injury really hurt Burris. The team had already brought in linebackers Nick Roach, Kevin Burnett, and Sio Moore during free agency and the draft to bulk up the position. Those three players ended up solidifying their positions and Burris was relegated to mostly special teams duty in the six games he appeared in a season ago.
Now, 2014 is approaching rapidly and Burris should have the benefit of a full offseason to compete to get playing time. He would have to show tremendous growth to unseat one of the those starters, especially with the addition of first-round pick Khalil Mack. Mack is all but assured of the starting strong side linebacker gig. Burris is competing as a rotational player within the linebacking corps. He has nice size at 6-2, 240 pounds to maybe move inside to middle linebacker to help Roach. In college, Burris was known for his pass rushing prowess, so defensive coordinator Jason Tarver could establish a package where he can use those attributes. Anyway the situation plays out, Burris is solid depth at the position and has a chance to see some playing time, especially if the Raiders chose to run more 3-4 defense in 2014.
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