The Las Vegas Raiders came into the 2023 NFL draft with a litany of needs on defense and while they weren’t able to address them all, they did find some players with potential. Linebacker was a major need for the team but they waited until the sixth round to address it when they added Florida’s Amari Burney. The 22-year-old needs to work on his technique but has the athletic ability to be a solid linebacker in the NFL.
He also has family ties to the Raiders, which should only help him. Burney revealed that he’s the cousin of cornerback Brandon Facyson. He was a key player during the Raiders’ 2021 playoff run but left the following season to play for the Indianapolis Colts. He came back to Las Vegas this offseason and will now get to play with his young cousin. Burney explained the emotion he felt about being able to play with a family member.
“I grew up watching ‘Hard Knocks’, so when [Maxx Crosby] was on there that was a team I was looking at,” Burney said during his April 29 media availability. “And then my cousin, he plays for the Raiders right now, Brandon Facyson. So, it was surreal for the Raiders to call me and then the feeling I had was I was shaking. I didn’t want to cry, but I think like two tears dropped from my eyes a little bit.
“But I was just really shaking, I couldn’t really speak when we were on the phone talking. And it just really feels surreal that I get to play with my cousin, he plays for the Raiders right now. My Mom was talking about it a long time ago. She was like: ‘What if the Raiders call you and then you get to reunite with your cousin for the first time?’ So, this feeling is great right now.”
Burney Looking to Move in With Facyson
Even a sixth-round pick in the draft is making good money but Burney would still prefer not to buy his own place. He revealed that he spoke to Facyson and pitched the idea of him moving in with him. The cornerback doesn’t own a house in Las Vegas yet and is only on a one-year deal.
“Oh, yeah. Brandon just called me, he called me a few seconds ago,” Burney said. “We just chatted a little bit. He’s got an apartment, so I told him: ‘Give me a room in the apartment.’ I’m not trying to buy my own right now.”
It remains to be seen if the two cousins will end up living together.
Burney Believes He Can Be Effective in Coverage
The days of the run-stuffing linebacker are coming to an end in the NFL. Modern linebackers need to be able to stop the run and drop back in coverage. The Raiders have had a difficult time finding linebackers who can cover but Burney believes he can be part of the solution. The former defensive back turned linebacker is confident in his ability to cover wide receivers and tight ends.
“I can be very effective. I feel like when I’m in coverage you don’t have to double the man that I’m guarding, so you can use the safety to be a rat or something like that. But very effective; I had the best hands-on Florida last year, which I keep saying – my hands are great. I used to play receiver, so I don’t drop too many interceptions.”