The confidence that the Green Bay Packers have in safety Morgan Burnett continues to grow. Teammates and coaches praise Burnett's increased leadership efforts and his improved communication in the secondary, giving the 24-year-old plenty of reasons to feel like a rising star on Green Bay's roster. But Burnett isn't buying into the hype. "I don't take anything for granted," Burnett said. "Nothing is locked down for me. I have to go out and compete every day and that's what you love about playing this game of football at this level. You're challenged to go out and compete and go out and perform every day, so that's going to help you get better as a player." Heading into his fourth NFL season, Burnett is a clear-cut starter and one of the team's best defensive players. He led the Packers in tackles last season and added two interceptions, five passes defensed, two sacks and a team-best two forced fumbles. Green Bay is going to need that type of production out of Burnett on a yearly basis. Three-time Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins is now 20 months removed from what turned out to be a career-ending neck injury. The Packers' plan when drafting Burnett in the third round in 2010 was to team him up with Collins for a decade, with Collins always being the veteran leader between the two of them. That all changed though when Collins was carted off the field in September 2011 while in the prime of his career. Last season, Charles Woodson was converted to safety after 14 years of being one of the NFL's better cornerbacks. That gave Burnett another year to learn from a proven veteran and is part of what has helped him add the intangible skills that can help Green Bay's defense now that Woodson is gone. "I'm not trying to be Charles Woodson," Burnett said. "Charles Woodson is a Hall of Fame player. I have to come in and try to be the best Morgan Burnett that I can be, be accountable to my teammates and do my job to the best of my ability." Burnett's approach comes across like that of an undrafted rookie who just wants to make the team. That attitude is part of what has allowed him to be successful early in his career and gain the respect of many in the locker room and on the coaching staff.
Burnett only sure bet at Packers' safety position
Fox Sports Wisconsin | May 25