With Gerald McCoy basically on his way out of the door, the Bucs could use a pass rusher. They still have JPP, but in Todd Bowles defense the Bucs also need OLBs that can rush the passer. Somebody that fits perfectly is Florida State Edge Rusher Brian Burns. Burns is everything a coach could want in an edge rusher at OLB. Here’s a look at the pros and cons.
Pros: Was all ACC his junior year, putting up 52 tackles, 15.5 TFL, 10 sacks, 3 FF, and 3 pass breakups. He is incredibly fast off the snap and is a superior athlete. At the NFL combine Burns ran a 4.53 in the 40 and had a 36-inch vertical leap. Burns does possess some decent pass rush moves. Most notably his spin move. He’s also very adept at rushing from either the outside or inside.
Cons: Played DE/OLB in college, but will be limited to just OLB in the pros because he is just too small to play DE. In college, Burns played at 235 lbs, and he beefed up to 249 lbs for the combine, but don’t expect him to get much bigger than that. Burns has difficulty when engaging with stronger O-Lineman, and he’s going to have to learn that he can’t get by on speed alone in the NFL. He will have to work to improve using his hands when rushing the passer.
My take: I think Burns is perfect for Todd Bowles defense and has Pro Bowl potential. Burns will likely still be on the board past the 10th pick, and if the Bucs decided to trade down and take Burns, then that’s a steal. Football Outsiders projections say Burn is highly underrated. The websites SackSeer model that is based on a number of different factors projected that over the next 3 season, Burns will have more sacks than any player in this draft.
During his three seasons at FSU (2016-2018) he recorded 123 tackles, 23 sacks, 7 pass defends, 7 forced fumbles, and 2 fumbles recovered. He earned First team All-ACC in 2018. PFF grades him at an 87.2 and 9th in the nation for edge defenders.
(Vid Credit: ACC Digital Network)