Here at SideLion Report, we will be previewing potential Detroit Lions draftees as the draft draws closer. This week, we look at Florida State’s Brian Burns.
As the month of March starts, we are in full swing when it comes to mock drafts, and the Detroit Lions have a lot of needs to address come late April. General manager Bob Quinn addressed to the media at the start of the combine that this draft is deep when it comes to the offensive line, wide receivers and the tight ends.
These comments made by Quinn imply that the Lions will be waiting to address their offensive needs later in the draft, meaning that they can use their first round draft pick on a talented EDGE rusher.
Despite the young defense showing strides and being a top-10 defense at certain points of the season, this defense could still use a few more speedy pass rushers to contain the quarterback in the pocket and wreak havoc on running backs who try to take the edge.
A great way to address their defensive would be drafting a prospect that might be the best pure pass rusher in this draft, according to Pride of Detroit’s Alex Reno. That prospect, Florida State’s Brian Burns, can help this Detroit defense in more ways than one.
While he may be a little undersized for the NFL at roughly 240 pounds, Burns could end being the ultimate replacement for linebacker Devon Kennard, playing the role of a standup linebacker. Detroit was near the bottom of the league in terms of pass rush, and Burns would help with that.
Burns was known as a nightmare for ACC quarterbacks, racking up 123 total tackles, 38.5 tackles for loss, and 23.0 sacks, with ten of those sacks coming in his most recent season.
The former Florida State Seminole is one of the most versatile pass rushers in this year’s draft, as he can play with his hand in the dirt or rush the edge from the linebacker position.
In his first year in the league, Burns could learn from members in the linebacker unit like Kennard and Jarrad Davis, sticking to just pressuring the quarterback on passing downs to help him gain professional experience while he learns the complicated position of NFL linebacker.
While the Detroit Lions did produce 43 sacks in 2018, the majority of those sacks came from either Kennard or defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, via creative blitz packages. With Ansah likely to not be with the team come August, Burns can fill that role of Ansah, pairing with Kennard to make a fearsome duo off the edge.
Burns offers so many good things to the Lions. He’s not just a pass rusher, as he made his presence in the run game felt in his time with the Seminoles. After a promising freshmen season, Burns gradually improved over his sophomore and junior year. If this trend continues, we have most certainly seen the best that Burns can play.
Burns manage to get past offensive linemen through his elite explosiveness, which was on display at the combine earlier this month. And despite lacking NFL bulk, Burns’ 6’5″ frame and long arms allows him to create space from those trying to get in his way.
After watching these exciting highlights, it’s clear that Burns could make an impact in Detroit right away. Lions fans should pray that he gets a chance to don the Honolulu blue six months from now.