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NFL Execs View Brian Burns as a Top 10 Pass Rusher

Brian Burns is starting to gain some recognition around the league.

When you think of some of the best pass rushers in the game, you often think of T.J. Watt, Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa, Myles Garrett, Von Miller, and so on. After putting together back-to-back nine sack seasons, you can start to throw Brian Burns' name in the mix.

In a survey conducted by ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, league executives, coaches, scouts, and players ranked Brian Burns as the 8th-best pass rusher in the NFL.

Burns doesn't own a double-digit-sack season since entering the league in 2019. But evaluators say the numbers don't tell the whole story with Burns, an explosive, rangy player.

"Rare athlete," an NFC scout said. "Can be deployed any way in any scheme, and you have to know where he is. Can cover better than some stack linebackers. Commands attention every down for where he lines up."

Burns made his first Pro Bowl after a second straight nine-sack season in 2021, and he ranked 15th in pass rush win rate (20.1%). And Burns can do much more -- if he gets help.

That same NFC scout told me that Burns "still has huge upside, and while his production has been good, he would really take off if his offense scored more often, to where he could pin his ears back an extra 15-20 times per game."

It'll be interesting to see if his sack numbers hold up without Haason Reddick lining up on the opposite side. He had success pre-Reddick, but at the time he was only in the second year of his career and teams didn't have as much knowledge about him as they do now. 

Earlier this offseason, Panthers GM Scott Fitterer picked up the fifth-year option on Burns and also told reporters that he is a "priority" to get signed long-term. 

"There's always more on the table, but Brian would be one of those priorities moving forward. He's a guy that's come out and produced for us. I really like the leader he is becoming and the man that he is. He will be one of those guys that we definitely try to work on."

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