Raiders News: Amari Burney Admits ‘Surreal’ Feeling At Getting To Play With His Cousin

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The Las Vegas Raiders focused primarily on defense throughout the 2023 NFL Draft with six of their nine selections coming on that side of the ball. One of those picks that hasn’t gotten quite as much attention but could pay major dividends is linebacker Amari Burney, a sixth-round selection out of Florida.

Burney originally entered college as a defensive back before transitioning to linebacker which coincidentally is the same position his cousin, Brandon Facyson still plays. And with Facyson re-joining the Raiders this offseason, he has the opportunity to play with his cousin for the Silver and Black.

Burney recently spoke about this opportunity, calling the moment he was drafted a surreal moment and adding that his mother mentioned the possibility, via Levi Edwards of

“[I]t was surreal for the Raiders to call me and then the feeling I had was I was shaking,” Burney said after being drafted. “I didn’t want to cry, but I think like two tears dropped from my eyes a little bit. 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.”

It isn’t often that players have the opportunity to play with family, so to be able to team up with his cousin is truly special. Not to mention it always helps to have a familiar face in the building.

In his final season at Florida, Burney flashed some serious potential, finishing with 79 tackles, nine tackles for loss, four sacks, and two interceptions. He also added four passes defensed as well as a pair of forced fumbles, showing off his versatility.

And Burney believes his experience as a defensive back really helps him at his new position with what he brings in coverage:

“I can be very effective.” Burney said. “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. … I used to play receiver, so I don’t drop too many interceptions.”

The Raiders need help at all levels of the defense, and Burney has some potential to make an impact as a sideline-to-sideline tackler and won’t have to be taken off the field in passing situations. He still has a lot of room to grow as a linebacker as well so if the Raiders can unlock that potential, they could have a steal on their hands.

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