Of course, his rise won’t come from the dead, but nearly as close, if you talk to Packers fans and analysts.
Burnett, the 6-1, 210-pounder drafted in the third round by the Packers in 2010, turned 25 this past January following his worst season with the organization, a player who had shown so much progress and production prior to 2013 that the Packers inked him to a new five-year, $26 million contract extension.
And then the 2013 season came along and Burnett disappeared.
He didn’t have a single interception and defensed only five passes. To his defense, he did have 102 tackles. But when it came to pass coverages, his name wasn’t called too much.
But we all know it wasn’t all Burnett’s fault. Safeties must move in tandem and the play from the safety opposite Burnett was atrocious. It’s tough to look good and to play well when your partner on the back end of the defense stinks – and that’s what Burnett faced last season.
His best years were 2011 and 2012 (see statistics below). Over that two-year stretch, Burnett had 3 sacks, 5 interceptions, 18 passes defensed, 3 fumble recoveries, 165 tackles, and 3 fumble recoveries.
If there’s a single player on the Packers’ roster who needs vindication and recovery, it’s Burnett. He’s shown he can do it and will do it in the future.
But what’s the key to his resurrection?
Here’s why: The Packers have got to address the position through the draft. Landing a player or two who can compete opposite Burnett will not only make the entire defense better, but it will help Burnett to shine.
Burnett is in his prime and last year was a result of varying factors. He will resurrect from that – a rising that could be part of new life on the defensive side of the ball for the Packers.
With the re-signing of Sam Shields and Mike Neal, as well as the signing of defensive linemen Julius Peppers and Letroy Guion, Thompson has been committed to resurrecting the defense. We think that commitment will continue into the draft and the signings of undrafted free agents.
And that commitment will help Morgan Burnett.
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