Imagine a player who rushes the passer like a defensive end, plays coverage like a linebacker, and moves like a safety. Now, check out Florida State EDGE Brian Burns’ highlight tape. That’s a man worth the eighth overall pick.
Burns is a do-it-all EDGE player who is one of, if not the most athletic player in the 2019 NFL Draft. Standing at a shade under 6-foot-5 with 34-inch arms, Burns possesses game-changing length and athleticism. He posted elite speed and explosion numbers at the NFL Combine, putting up a blazing 4.53 40-yard dash to go with a 36-inch vertical and a 7.01 three-cone drill.
You could convince me Brian Burns could play S and I would buy into it pic.twitter.com/tixW0tOo4R— Big Game (@BengalDesigns) March 5, 2019
On film, Burns’ ability to mold his athleticism into pass-rushing ability is uncanny. He takes full advantage of his length when long-arming offensive tackles and chasing down quarterbacks on film. His bend is also among the best in this draft class.
Brian Burns natural hip bend and ability to corner are ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/1sX1K2q4qV— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) February 10, 2019
While his raw athleticism is evident right off the bat when watching Burns’ tape, what’s even more compelling is his coachability. The way Burns’ arsenal of pass-rushing moves has evolved since his freshman year is mind-boggling, particularly his now-signature spin move that used to be laughable during his freshman season.
To top it off, Burns is just scratching his surface. Having just turned 21 years old on April 23, there’s no telling how much more Burns could grow in size, or dare we even say height. His youth bodes well in the long term as well—the Lions could pick up a fifth-year option and then pay Burns for another four to five years and he would still be in the latter parts of his prime, going on only 30 years old give or take a year.
Quite frankly, there isn’t much not to like about Burns, and he has proven himself well worth the eighth overall pick.
Burns earns rave reviews from all over the Pride of Detroit staff:
”Burns would go against several of both Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn’s established tendencies, but his elite athletic potential and history of coachability are certain to make them at least revisit. The vicious spin move that he became famous for in 2018 was developed each season, and seeing it transform from a pretty sad, failed attempt in 2016 to an all out assault on blockers in 2018 showcases a devotion to improving his craft that coaches are sure to love.”
- Kent Lee Platte
“Burns’ lack of power is evident when you watch him on film at FSU, but his first step is as good as it gets. He bulked up this offseason (going from around 230 to 250) without losing athleticism. The Lions will be hoping they can coach up a versatile athlete into a legit edge threat. He is a gamble, though. For the Lions’ sake, I hope he’s more like Danielle Hunter than Barkevious Mingo.”
- Justin Simon
“Hand in the dirt or standing up on the edge, Burns is a Swiss-army defender and the Lions love versatility. Explosive off the line, the pass rusher’s length and athleticism are just a few of his strengths, not to mention his notorious (and pretty sexy) spin move. Though his size was initially a concern, the quick bulk-up before weighing in around 250 at the Combine shows dedication and discipline the Lions would be remiss not to scoop up at eight. He’s a solid option, should he be able to keep up the weight and work on defending the run.”
- Kellie Rowe
“All my fellow Brian Burns supporters have expressed my sentiments to a tee.... my football player sentiments. To add a little levity to his PoD landslide of a Draft Crush I’ll add the other options present with bringing him here. He has major sleeper upside in our yearly Name Bracket Challenge. You can play on his speed and athleticism as well as make cool STD jokes. There’s also a cool Simpson’s connection that someone more creative than me can work with. Not just calling him Mr. Burns. Maybe something like giving him a cool nickname related to a Nuclear Plant or even connecting him with Smithers. Burns brings want we want on the field and potentially on the site. It’s a no brainer.”
- Jerry Mallory