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2019 NFL Draft Profiles: Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State

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NCAA Football: Florida State at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 NFL Draft kicks off tomorrow, with the first round coming Thursday night at 8pm ET. Over the last several days, we have started taking a closer look at some of the draft prospects who could be on the Miami Dolphins’ radar come Thursday - or Friday or Saturday as the three-day selection process proceeds.

Some of Miami’s biggest questions heading into this year’s Draft are on the line of scrimmage, with tackle, guard, defensive end, and defensive tackle all positions of need. Our prospect profiles have covered several of those positions, and continue to do so now. We turn our attention in article nine of the series to Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns.

Brian Burns bio

Age: 21 (April 23, 1998)
Born: Fort Lauderdale, FL
High School: American Heritage School, Plantation, FL
College: Florida State

As a freshman at Florida State, Burns appeared in all 13 games, playing both defensive end and rush linebacker. He recorded 24 tackles with 9.5 sacks and a blocked punt, earning Freshman All-American honors. He started all 13 games at defensive end as a sophomore in 2017, recording 48 tackles with 4.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and two blocked punts. Burns started all 12 games for FSU in 2018, recording 52 tackles with 10 sacks, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. Was named first-team All-ACC in 2018.

Brian Burns measurables

Height: 6’5”
Weight: 249 lbs.
Arms: 33-7/8”
Hands: 10”
40-yard dash: 4.53
Vertical jump: 36.0
Broad jump: 129.0
3-cone drill: 7.01

What they are saying

Nick Farabaugh, Behind the Steel Curtain - Burns has some insane bend, he can just bend around the edge like a dang slinky. The dude is a super polished pass rusher and it shows up all over his tape. Honestly, just check out how this guy beats guys around the edge, it isn’t even funny.

Optimistic View: Burns fills out his frame, becomes a stout run defender, and can still bend like a slinky and be an elite EDGE rusher. He becomes a perennial pro bowler and he and TJ Watt become one of the best duos in the NFL period. Pessimistic View: Burns is just better staying at the weight and never becomes a truly good run defender, but he is still an elite pass rusher. Burns still makes huge plays and is a great partner in crime for Watt. My Take: I think there is so much more room in that frame and Burns won’t lose much. He is almost a slam dunk pick. His floor is high and he has a high ceiling too. Burns should be a stud at the next level.

Lance Zierlein, - Long, thin pass-rush specialist who possesses elite get-off and stride length to simply outrun overmatched tackles around the rush arc and into the backfield. Burns’ edge speed and varied rush approach should translate to the league, but his skinny frame and lack of play strength are absolutely concerns moving forward. 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. Comparison: Leonard Floyd.

Joe Marino, The Draft Network - Burns is a refined pass rusher that dominated power five competition throughout his college career. While it’s easy to love his high-variance, technically refined and gifted pass rushing skill set, Burns is a more versatile defender than he is often credited for. He can win from a three-point or stand-up position with playmaking ability against the run, in coverage and attacking the quarterback. His blend of length, flexibility, technical refinement, football IQ and burst serve as a strong foundation for him to become a dynamic playmaking defender in the NFL.

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports - Brian Burns is an explosive pass rusher who played last season at around 235 pounds, which raised concerns about whether he weighed enough to anchor the edge at the next level. But he showed up at the combine weighing 249 pounds and at 6-foot-5, is well within the range of a typical edge rusher or outside linebacker. But watch Burns play and he’s anything but typical. In fact, he could end up being a top-10 pick. Strengths: Concerns about Burns’ weight (he reportedly played at 235 during the 2018 season) were alleviated at the combine where he weighed in at 249 pounds. Also helping: The aforementioned 4.53 40 time. Burns is an explosive edge rusher who is surprisingly strong. He regularly wins to the outside with his speed but showed the ability to run stunts inside as well. Weaknesses: Burns needs to get better with hand usage and better develop his pass-rush moves but he reminds us on the field of Aldon Smith, who had 14 sacks as a situational pass rusher during his rookie season with the 49ers. Comparison: Aldon Smith.

Kevin Nardone, FanDuel - Burns is a skilled pass rusher who dominated power five competition during his tenure at Florida State. He plays defensive end, but he is more versatile than many people realize. He also excels in major aspects of his position such as run-stopping, coverage and rushing the quarterback. In his three years and 33 games at Florida State, he compiled 38.5 tackles for a loss and blistering 23 sacks to complement 123 total tackles.

Gavino Borquez, USA Today Draft Wire - Burns is one of the most coveted edge rushers in the 2019 NFL draft class. Burns has a flexible and bendable frame. He’s able to dip his inside shoulder to turn the corner and has enough lean to get around the corner at tight angles. If that doesn’t work, he will use his length to setup a long arm or stab move to keep his chest clean. Burns needs plenty of work, especially with his technique and take on skills. He struggles to maintain his gap integrity and gives up ground vs. power, as he doesn’t have much strength due to his lanky frame and unideal bulk. He must also learn to add more counters to his arsenal at the next level.

Charlie Campbell, WalterFootball - Edge defenders who can get after the quarterback are always in demand given the passing-driven game of the NFL. With his speed, athleticism and length, Burns has the potential to be an impactful edge defender with double-digit sack potential as a pro. Over three years at Florida State, Burns proved to be a consistent quarterback hunter. Burns is very talented in the pass rush. Off the snap, he displays explosive first-step quickness. Burns is fast to turn the corner and just flat runs by tackles with pure speed. Burns has a long frame, but shows some nice ability to bend around the edge. He can dip underneath blockers and has a burst to close that makes it difficult for tackles to recover against him. For the NFL, Burns could use more pass-rushing moves. Featuring more spins, cuts to the inside, and rip moves would help him when he takes on better competition who won’t be beaten by just a speed rush. As a junior, Burns flashed the potential for a repertoire of moves, and he just needs to continue to work on it for handling pro offensive tackles. As a run defender, Burns is much better in pursuit, where he can use his speed and athleticism to chase down tackles. Burns is agile to work through trash and get to the ball-carriers. He has good vision with read-and-react skills to get in position to make plays. There is no doubt that Burns is going to need to add weight and strength for the NFL. Against pro offensive linemen, he is going to have problems holding up against downhill runs coming straight at him. Burns has gained some weight, but he needs to put on a lot more. Luckily for him, he has the frame to do it, so it is possible that fills out as he as he ages and gets experience in a pro strength and conditioning program. However entering the NFL, Burns is a liability in run support. Comparison: Leonard Floyd

Video breakdowns and film

That’s Burns dipping under possible top-10 pick Jawaan Taylor, who’s barely able to touch him, while also having the awareness to go for the ball, and looking to throw a block for good measure. At first glance, it looks like just a pure speed rush where Burns is just faster than the tackle. However, he sets it up by measuring up Taylor. If the tackle takes a wider first step, then with that hesitation Burns could have transitioned into an inside rush. Taylor doesn’t set far enough outside, and Burns recognizes this before he even takes his second step. He takes a hard step outside and bursts through, keeping his body low and running a narrow arc to the quarterback. Burns is so quick and can get so low that there’s really nothing the tackle can do once he fell for the setup. That’s not just pass rushing with a plan, that’s executing a plan with extreme efficiency and precision. - Blackout52, Niners Nation FanPost

Should Dolphins be interested?

Burns is probably a top-ten pick this year, so the Dolphins would have to get lucky to land him. He has the ability to both stand-up and rush as a linebacker or put his hand down and come after quarterbacks as a defensive end. He does have to work on his run defense, but adding strength and weight will assist there. He seems like a highly polished pass rusher who could come in and immediately improve Miami’s defense.


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