2019 #16 Carolina Panthers – Brian Burns, OLB, Florida State
NFL Draft Scout
OUTLOOK: The need to affect quarterbacks is so critical in today's up-tempo NFL that teams are increasingly willing to sacrifice size for speed. That's music to the ears of the lanky Burns, who left scorch marks on would-be blockers (and their quarterbacks) in three seasons with the Seminoles, recording 24 sacks and seven forced fumbles in 33 career games. Burns signed with the Seminoles as a five-star recruit and immediately lived up to his billing, leading the nation's first-year players with 9.5 sacks - the most from a FSU freshman since 1977. After earning consensus Freshman All-American honors, opponents knew exactly where Burns was in 2017 and his production slipped dramatically, at least in terms of flashy sacks (4.5). Lost in the narrative that Burns disappointed in his second season in Tallahassee is that he improved his production in every other statistic, including total tackles (48), tackles for loss (13.5), passes broken up (four) and forced fumbles (three). Burns would go on to post career-highs in nearly every category again as a junior (52-15.5-10) with another three forced fumbles in 2018 despite the Seminoles (5-7) failing to qualify for a bowl game.