The Atlanta Falcons are looking at the NFL Draft to get after the quarterback. Here is a prospect that is in the web of possibility for the Falcons with their 14th pick.
Part of the process is already underway this offseason for the Atlanta Falcons when speaking of improving the overall pass rush. For most, the decision to bring back edge rusher Vic Beasley for the 2019 season with plenty of discontent and rightfully so with Beasley’s underwhelming production (or lack thereof) over the past four seasons. The Falcons front office and coaching staff has made it known that fixing a pass rush that was tied for 22nd in the NFL in sacks last season. So let’s turn the focus to one of the best pass rushers in the entire 2019 NFL Draft. A player that will be highly coveted and is likely sitting very high on the Falcons draft board.
Brian Burns Scouting Report
Weight: 249 lbs
Career stats: 123 tackles, 38.5 tackles for loss, 23 sacks, seven forced fumbles, seven pass deflections
Games watched: 2017 vs. Louisville, 2017 vs. Clemson, 2017 vs. Alabama, 2017 vs. Florida, 2018 vs. Miami, 2018 vs. Virginia Tech, 2018 vs. Boston College
Strengths: First thing that comes off on film is the long, wiry frame of Burns. As a result, fans are turned off because of his lack of girth.
Make no mistake, Burns is a pass rusher and a damn good one at that. Burns explodes out of his stance with his elite first step quickness which is evident in his 1.57 10-yard split on his 40-yard dash (4.53 seconds). Burns shows surprising bend around the edge for a tall defender and can dip underneath offensive tackles who choose to attack in an upright stance. Burns is a long limbed defender with a 68-inch wingspan, which comes in handy when he is able to initiate a strip sack and disrupts passing lanes when unable to get to the QB. Athleticism should never come into question when describing his overall skill set. In run defense, Burns displays effort consistently and is not always a liability on the edge as some may assume he is. His suddenness against ball carriers is also easy to detect on film and Burns is able to change direction naturally and make plays in space.
Film session on Florida State DE Brian Burns. Here, Burns shows his lethal get-off, swipes away the hands of the RT, and completes the trifecta with the sack. pic.twitter.com/b5zIJX6kTF— Eric Robinson (@_Eric_Robinson) December 6, 2018
Arguably his best attribute in his skill is his ability to apply an arsenal of pass rushing moves. From the ability to dip and bend around the edge to timing a swift spin move to ripping through an offense, Burns is a pass rusher with a plan. It may not look as if he has the ability to but Burns can convert speed-to-power when the opportunity arises.
Weaknesses: Run defense is the first topic on the agenda when discussing Burns’ flaws. His length will allow him establish leverage but his overall play strength may get him in trouble at times. Teams will run at Burns even with his given length/size, because they can tell this. While Burns was able to add weight and enter the Combine at roughly 250-lbs, you wonder if Burns is capable of adding bulk and still showcase that athleticism on a consistent basis, which may limit his utility.
Conclusion: As you can tell from my write-up, Burns is a prospect that has very few negatives in my eyes, consistent strength against the run being the major one. Burns has shown during his time at Florida State that he is capable of setting the tone against the opposing offense and there were many occasions when Burns was the best defender on a Florida State defense that was filled with athleticism and speed.
Thanks to his impressive NFL Combine, Burns solidified his draft stock and currently I have him as a top-10 player overall. So the chances of him getting drafted in the top-10 is considerable. But with the Falcons having a General Manager that has never shied away from draft-day trades, it is not completely out of the realm that the team could trade up in the draft to take an elite pass rusher with All-Pro potential. If the Falcons so happen to add Burns and his talent to the roster, his addition will instantly improve and elevate the Falcons defensive front.