Brian Burns Needs More Attention

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) runs for a gain against Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns (53) during their football game Saturday, December 19, 2020, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Apc Packvspanthers 1219200602

Brian Burns Needs More Attention

There are many young pass rushers in the league right now. Players such as Chase Young, Nick Bosa, and Josh Allen have gotten a lot of attention from the media. However, there is another player from the 2019 draft class that has also been one of the best young pass rushers in the league. Brian Burns was a first-round pick by the Panthers in 2019 and over his first two seasons, he has put himself on the path to be one of the best in the league in his prime. Burn has developed from the raw player he was when he was drafted to one of the best emerging pass rushers in the league. 

Burns So Far

Burns was drafted by the Carolina Panthers with the 16th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. He was the fifth edge rusher taken, after Nick Bosa, Clelin Ferrell, Josh Allen, and Rashan Gary. Having just turned 21 years old, Burns was one of the youngest players drafted that year. And in his first season, he put up solid stats. According to Pro Football Reference, Burns finished with 7.5 sacks, a forced fumble touchdown, and 5 tackles for a loss. These were good numbers for a 21-year-old rookie, especially one who was considered more of a raw prospect coming into the league. Burns only started five games as well, but his talent was clearly shown when he was on the field. 

In his sophomore season, Burns only got better. He finished with nine sacks, eight tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles, and also had 21 QB Hits. He also won an NFC Defensive Player of the Week honor in week 11. According to Pro Football Reference, he also finished ninth in the league in QB Pressures with 37. Out of the top 50 players for pressures last season, only Chase Young was younger. He did this while playing on a defense that was in the bottom half of the league in most categories. He led the Panthers in sacks, forced fumbles, and tackles for a loss. Along with safety Jeremy Chinn and defensive tackle Derrick Brown, Burns was one of the lone bright spots for the Panthers on defense. 

Burns has also graded out well per Pro Football Focus. He finished 13th overall among edge rushers in total defense grade. However, when it came to just pass rush, Burns posted an 86.9 grade, which was fifth-best among edge rushers. While he isn’t a complete player yet, he has shown flashes of elite upside on film as well. Nate Tice, who works for The Athletic, did a Twitter thread for how good Burns is right now.

Next Steps

Burns is ready to bring his game to the next level, and be considered among the best pass rushers in the league. He has gotten better every season, and built up his athletic frame so far, and having just turned 23, will only be getting better. The Panthers’ defense has also continued to add more talent to it, drafting cornerback Jaycee Horn eighth overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. With Horn joining Brown and Chinn, Burns now will have more help from the rest of his defense. The Panthers also drafted edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos in the second round last season, and if he develops, he would also make the job easier for Burns. 

Burns is one of the best young defensive players in the league regardless of position and is only getting better. With a better supporting cast, and improving his run defense, Burns will make himself into a household name. And if he reaches his potential, this Panthers defense as a whole will be a force to be reckoned with.