Burns is ranked high on anyone’s board as an edge defender because he’s a well-rounded pass rusher while also being able to set the edge. He might be even higher up on some local fan boards given that he’s coming out of Florida State.
His junior season in 2018 was his best yet for the Seminoles. He cracked double digits in the sack column for the first time in his college career with 10.0. He added 15.5 tackles for loss for good measure. Burns is apparently good for breaking up a couple of passes a season, too. He recorded three passes defensed in 2018 after batting down four in 2017. His first season at Florida State, he played in all 13 games for the Noles and was a Freshman All-American and led all freshman nationally with 9.5 sacks. He finished his college career with 39.5 tackles for loss and 24.0 sacks along with seven passes defensed. He even has seven career forced fumbles, too.
His sack totals are good for fifth in Florida State history and he earned the top ranking in the ACC and eighth in the NCAA with an average of .83 sacks per game in 2018 as a junior.
View photos of FSU's DE Brian Burns.
NFL.com lists him at a 5.94, meaning he has a chance to become an NFL starter and has garnered comparisons to Leonard Floyd. The thing holding him back is his weight. He’s 6’5 but weighs only 227 pounds, giving him a slight frame for a guy who will be taking on NFL offensive tackles. His strengths, however, lie in his athleticism and versatility, according to NFL.com. He has ‘tremendous lower-body flexion for a 45-degree edge bend.’ In the end, Burns could be a fit in multiple spots within a flexible defense.
“While some view him as a pass rusher only, it might be a waste not to utilize his blue-chip athletic ability in space as a hybrid linebacker,” said NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein.