MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 04: Kevin Burnett #56 of the Miami Dolphins returns an interception for a touchdown during a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
It's time to move on to one of the players we know will be filling an OLB spot, Kevin Burnett. Burnett will be playing in a 4-3 defense for the first time in his NFL career. He has very good athleticism, but it'll be interesting to see how he does in the new defensive scheme. Burnett started slow in 2011, but came along later in the season. He's not very strong in coverage and is sometimes slow clogging the hole in the run, but moving outside may help him react quicker against the run as he could have less traffic in front of him. His athleticism should also help perform well against outside runs. He won't be rushing the QB as much as a 3-4 OLB would be, but he'll have his fair share of pressures with blitzes, and when he does, he could play a factor in Miami's pass rush. While many think the position is settled with Burnett, he may be a defensive weakness in the passing game. That'll be the biggest issue when it comes to how much of an impact Burnett has on Miami's defense.
Floor: If Burnett continues to struggle against the pass (opposing QBs had a 104.3 QB Rating against him in 2011, but he was only victimized for 1 TD), Miami could find themselves looking to plug two OLB holes in 2013. Though Burnett has been a little slow to fill the gaps in the past, he has historically performed well against the run and is a solid tackler. His floor against the run is pretty high, but it could be the passing game that leads to his downfall. Stats: 70 tackles, 1 sack, 0 INTs, 0 FFs.
Ceiling: If Burnett improves his ability in coverage, he could have a very good season in 2012. With his good athleticism, he could be very effective on blitzes and wreak havoc on QBs, both with an ability to generate pressure off the edge or blitzes up the middle. More sacks will always help a defense, but Burnett can help Miami even more by helping to cover TEs and RBs, both of which have been troublesome for Miami's defense over the pass few years. Stats: 110 tackles, 6 sacks, 3 INTs, 2 FFs.
How will Kevin Burnett perform as a 4-3 OLB in 2012?
Miami will look to replace him in 2013. (41 votes)
He will play below average. (13 votes)
He will play average. (140 votes)
He will play above average. (261 votes)
He will be voted to the Pro Bowl. (35 votes)
490 total votes