With the needs the Buffalo Bills had coming into the 2019 offseason, general manager Brandon Beane has filled a good majority of their needs. Suddenly, pass rusher has become one of the top immediate needs. Outside of Jerry Hughes, the Bills get very little pressure off the edge. Brian Burns would change that in a hurry.
Burns is a refined pass rusher that dominated power five competition throughout his college career. While it’s easy to love his high-variance, technically refined and gifted pass rushing skill set, Burns is a more versatile defender than he is often credited for. He can win from a three-point or stand-up position with playmaking ability against the run, in coverage and attacking the quarterback. His blend of length, flexibility, technical refinement, football IQ and burst serve as a strong foundation for him to become a dynamic playmaking defender in the NFL.
Long, thin pass-rush specialist who possesses elite get-off and stride length to simply outrun overmatched tackles around the rush arc and into the backfield. 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. 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.
In his final season at Florida State as a junior, Burns recorded 52 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and ten sacks. The biggest knock on Burns is his weight and strength. Although he weighed in at the NFL Combine at 249 pounds, Burns plays with his weight around 230. If Burns can maintain that weight and not lose a significant amount of his speed—which is what makes him a top pick—the concerns about his strength and size would vanish.
Burns would immediately be one of the Bills’ top-two pass-rushers alongside with Hughes. If the Bills were to go with Burns at ninth overall, Shaw Lawson’s future with the team would be in question. Burns might be gone by the time the Bills are on the clock, but if he’s there at nine he would likely be the best player available.