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Is Brian Burns The Elite Pass Rusher The Redskins Need?

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2019 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

NCAA Football: Clemson at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Burns, EDGE
School: Florida State | Conference: ACC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 20
Height / Weight: 6-5 / 235 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 1st Round
NFL Comparison: Leonard Floyd

College Statistics

Player Overview

Brian Burns was a 4-star recruit who was pursued far and wide for his talents back in 2015. Burns had offers from just about every top program in Florida as well as offers from Clemson, Auburn, Michigan, and Georgia among others. Burns decided to get out of south Florida (he is from Plantation) and go north to Tallahassee to play for Florida State. Burns joined a Florida State program that at the time seemed like it was going to go back to its powerhouse roots. Burns got off to a hot start as a freshman and posted some impressive numbers as he laid the blueprint for himself and his rise to become a star in college football. Then things started to go south for Florida State. Jimbo Fisher and team started losing in 2017 and Burns has his worst year statistically. Fisher abruptly left the program after that year and went to coach at Texas A&M and Burns and his team were left to play for new coach Willie Taggart in 2018. It was one of the worst years in recent history for Florida State but Burns shined on a bad team. He set career highs statistically this past season and with Florida State in need of a serious rebuild and far from a contender Burns decided to leave for the NFL early. Burns is one of the top prospects at his position in this draft and should be a feature pass rusher in the NFL for years.

Strengths

  • Elite level quickness, burst, and athleticism. Good length. Can expose OL with his quick twitch going outside or inside. Has quick closing burst to be a problem in the backfield. Has the flexibility and athleticism to collapse the pocket.
  • Has good instincts and awareness and knows how to diagnose plays. Keeps lineman at arms length when playing the run and can disengage and make plays to wrap up. Moves well laterally and takes good pursuit angles.
  • Has experience playing from a 2, 3, and 4 point stance on the weak side and effective in all stances. Strong at the point of attack and technically sound with his hands. He’s active and is always looking for the ball.
  • Has several pass rush moves already and usually has a plan to get to into the backfield. Decent technique as a tackler.

Weaknesses

  • There are some concerns about his functional strength. Lineman with good balance and punch can push him back and neutralize him.
  • Flexibility isnt as good as other prospects in the class if he learns to turn the corner tighter he probably would have had at least 5 more sacks this season.
  • Consistency can be an issue as he doesn’t always string his moves together and can be hesitant when the play doesn’t come to his side.
  • Not much experience dropping back into coverage.

Let’s see his work:

More Brian Burns videos

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

Burns is consistently being mocked within the top 15 so far this offseason. If Burns confirms the eye test with his testing this offseason I would hope the Redskins would be considering him if he fell to 15. It goes without saying that Burns will likely be one of the best athletic talents in this draft as as a weakside linebacker with elite traits he’s an easy replacement for Preston Smith should the Redskins let Smith walk this offseason. I think Burns can stand to gain a few pounds and definitely get stronger at the point of attack so he can improve his consistency as a rusher but he has nearly all the tools to be dominant off the edge. His speed, initial quickness, and burst is something the Redskins haven’t had at the position at a long time. He’s a playmaker than can get to the QB disrupt the run and cause turnovers. The big knock I have on Burns is his lack of experience working in coverage. Common sense says you let him rush the passer as much as you can but in the Redskins defense they like the OLBs to cover tight ends, running backs, and sometimes even slot receivers. This is not a strength of Burns and he’s likely to be exploited in this area even with his athletic profile. Burns can become one of the best pass rushers in the league quickly if he’s used the right way. Would the Redskins be one of those teams?