Defensive end | Florida State | Junior
Height: 6-foot-5 | Weight: 249 pounds
2018: Started all 12 games; recorded 52 tackles (31 solo), 10 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, 3 passes broken up and 3 forced fumbles; named First-Team All-ACC and earned Team MVP and Defensive MVP honors
Career: Started 25 of 38 games played for the Seminoles; recorded 124 tackles (72 solo), 24 sacks (which ranked fifth in FSU history), 39.5 tackles for loss, 7 passes broken up, 7 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 3 blocked kicks
View photos of Florida State DE Brian Burns.
Summary: Burns attended American Heritage School (Plantation, Florida), where he helped the Stallions win state titles in 2013 and 2014. A five-star recruit, he received offers from Florida and Georgia, among others, but opted to commit to Florida State.
Burns led all FBS freshmen in 2016 with 9.5 sacks, which ranked 25th overall and seventh in the ACC. He recorded more than one sack in four games, a feat no Seminoles freshman had accomplished since 2006, and helped FSU finish No. 1 in FBS in sacks per game (3.92) and No. 1 in total sacks (51).
In 2017, he tied for first in the ACC and third nationally with two blocked punts, including one returned 13 yards.
Burns participated in the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, where his 40-yard dash time (4.53 seconds) ranked third among this year’s defensive linemen. He also was a top performer in the broad jump, where his leap of 10 feet, 9 inches was second-best among defensive linemen.
NFL analyst Lance Zierlein defined Burns as a “basketball athlete with silky hips and sudden feet” and also noted that he has good “upfield burst” against offensive tackles and “ability and quickness to shadow [scrambling]” quarterbacks.
“Burns’ edge speed and varied rush approach should translate to the league, but his skinny frame and lack of play strength are absolutely concerns moving forward,” Zierlein said. “While some view him as a pass rusher only, it might be a waste not to utilize his blue-chip athletic ability in space as a hybrid linebacker.”
Click here to read Burns’ full profile on NFL.com.
Stacking up: The Athletic’s Dane Brugler tabbed Burns as the sixth-best edge rusher in this year’s draft class. He was unranked by NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks. Daniel Jeremiah initially put Burns at No. 36 in his list of Top 50 prospects pushed him up an impressive 12 spots in his post-combine rankings.
“Burns is a tall, skinny edge rusher with excellent length and athleticism. As a pass rusher, he has an explosive get-off, and the ability to bend/wrap at the top of his rush,” Jeremiah wrote. “He also has an explosive inside counter move. However, he doesn't have any snap once engaged and fails to convert speed to power. He needs to win early in the down. As a run defender, he lacks the girth and strength to consistently hold the point of attack, but he plays with excellent effort on the back side. Overall, Burns needs to get stronger, but his upside is sky high because of his length and speed.”
In good company: According to The Athletic’s Tashan Reed, Burns drew comparisons to the 2017 No. 1 overall pick from Florida State defensive ends coach Mark Snyder.
“His get-off and his bend reminds of me of Myles Garrett,” Snyder told Reed. “That’s the only guy I’ve been around that can do what Brian can do rushing the quarterback. He has some special tools.”