With the Steelers possibly taking a more conservative approach, and looking at all their needs this offseason, it could be inferred that if an elite EDGE prospect were to be there at 20, they might just jump on him. Enter in Brian Burns, who is a top 5 player on my big board and even in a stacked EDGE class, really sticks out as a potential star. Burns has some traits that are eye-popping and continues to show out on tape every time you watch him. Thus, it is tempting for any team with EDGE as a secondary team to go and try to get him.
Wt: 235 lbs
Expected 40: 4.62
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.
Brian Burns is EDGE2 for very good reason. Fantastic hand usage and awesome bend around the edge are mainly why, even with that thin frame, he is going to be so hard to stop. He is like a slinky coming around the edge man. pic.twitter.com/ZiutZyG2VK— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) January 21, 2019
Burns, as shown here, has a great first step. He times the snap count absurdly well and can use that burst to convert to speed, power, and then bend around the edge. Look at the way he uses his hands to gain the edge here and maintain leverage, as he plays lows. Then, as he bends, his inside leg takes is super flexible and behind his hips. Fantastic job of moving around the edge and bending to get this sack.
Yet, Burns has one of the most lethal moves in the entire class, a wicked spin move that I love every time it shows up on film.
Brian Burns, a true problem.pic.twitter.com/ZQfFJQZOEC— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) January 30, 2019
Burns plays this off well because of the leverage he has. Every time he comes off the ball his shoulders are literally level with his hips and he lets his hips anchor himself for power. Thus, with that burst, the conversion allows him to win off of the snap. Burns thus can use this spin move once he gets the Tackle off balance, and boy does he ever do it. It is a wicked quick move that takes advantage of that quickness and nets extremely easy pressures for Burns all the time.
Burns is never going to be a fantastic run defender, largely due to his frame, but he is more than apt at doing so due to his impressive pass rushing traits. Burns has a fantastic rip move here to beat the guy of the edge and then takes an easy angle to make the tackle. Just textbook stuff.
He has incredibly light frame for an EDGE rusher and should really bulk up for the sake of gap discipline too. I just hope that doesn’t affect his agility too much if it does happen. He can fill out that frame, get the anchor he needs to hold the edge, and thrive. He hasn’t been asked to drop back into coverage much, which actually matters in the Steelers’ system.
Fit with the Steelers
Burns fills a need and would be a great partner for TJ Watt to have, although he cannot drop into coverage too often I would suspect. He has the agility to do it, but it is just not his forte at all. So, that might knock him down slightly, but that is why they have Bud Dupree, I guess.
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.