Here’s our 2019 NFL Draft profile for Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns breaking down his strengths, weaknesses, video highlights, and New York Jets prediction.
The 2019 NFL Draft class is loaded at the top with top-tier pass rush talent and Florida State’s Brian Burns comes in as one of the very best prospects in the entire class.
He may not be receiving the same attention that consensus top edge rushers Nick Bosa and Josh Allen are, but make no mistake about it. Burns is a premier edge rush talent that will likely be selected in the top 15 picks in this year’s draft.
The Florida State product broke out as a freshman in 2016 securing 8.5 sacks, leading all freshmen in the country. However, Burns had a down year in 2017 totaling just 4.5 sacks in 13 games started.
But Burns was able to turn everything around in 2018 when he recorded a career-high 10 sacks en route to earning First-Team All-ACC honors. As such, his draft stock skyrocketed and he is now considered a lock for the first round.
Despite the 2019 NFL Draft having a stacked edge rusher class at the top, Burns is quite possibly the best pure pass rusher out of every prospect. He is as refined as they come with a wide variety of pass rush and counter moves that allows him to get to opposing quarterbacks with ease.
Burns has incredible flexibility with his body which allows him to dip and bend around the corner. While he doesn’t have the most impactful first step, his speed and length allow him to make up for it as his long strides give him the ability to win on the edge against opposing tackles.
At the same time, Burns isn’t necessarily your prototypical speed rusher, to label him as such limits his true abilities. He is just as good at winning on the inside as he is the outside as a result of his impeccable counter moves.
Burns will sometimes fake as if he was rushing around the edge only to counter back inside with a spin move, stutter-step, etc. This is just another example of his varied pass rush moves which keep him from becoming too one-dimensional.
The biggest knock on Burns to this point has been his overall size and build. Although some of it may be overblown seeing that he weighed in at the NFL Combine at 249 pounds, Burns regularly played under 240 pounds while at FSU.
Given that he clearly beefed up over the offseason, some have concerns that the athletic edge rusher will either fail to keep the weight on during the regular season or lose some of the athleticism that made him so effective.
On top of that, his run defense isn’t particularly a strength of his game. He lacks the build to be able to set the edge on a regular basis as he sets his feet and gets blocked out of the play more often than you would hope for.
As previously mentioned, Burns also doesn’t possess an elite first step, something that another draft prospect like Florida’s Jachai Polite has over him. Still, his athletic traits and overall length more than make up for his subpar first-step quickness.
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NEW YORK JETS PREDICTION
While the Jets likely won’t target Burns with their No. 3 overall selection, he could be an option for them if the team decides to trade down. A trade back into the back half of the top 10 or even the early teens could leave the Jets right in the range to land the speedy Florida State edge.
Burns would be a great fit in the Jets 3-4 defense as his size and athleticism make him an ideal 3-4 weakside outside linebacker. Moreover, Burns has actually faired well when asked to drop into coverage something he would be required to do in the Jets scheme.
If the Jets don’t snatch him up, teams like the Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins, and Carolina Panthers could all be interested in taking the talented Burns.
Whoever is able to land him should expect a true pass rush artist with Pro Bowl potential if he could continue to hone his craft and play at his current weight. Burns checks in as one of the more unheralded prospects in this year’s class.