First Step Quickness – Potent explosiveness and is consistently pressuring the edge with his first step and ability to explode off the ball. Has beaten heavy footed tackles with pure speed and provides acceleration through the corner to rack up pressures. Blue chip trait.
Hand Technique/Length – Highly developed hands and shows a great understanding of importance of placement. Utilizes long arm to establish separation vs. blockers and has no shortage of shedding techniques to uncover and continue in his pursuit to the football.
Pass Rush Counters – Hits all of his landmarks on an endless array of counters, including speed rush, inside spin move, swim move, rip/club and even utilized a fake spin on one occasion. Understands the finer points of limb placement and how to limit OL recovery after counters.
Flexibility – Surreal mobility and bend for a player of his stature. Has unbelievable lower body tilt and ankle flexion to get the outside foot to catch at the apex of his turn. Shows great coil and explosion through the hips to generate hitting power.
Run Defending – Gap slasher who has defeated blocks and gotten to the mesh point with suddenness to disrupt the hand-off. Has enough length and bend to drop hips and hold his ground, although once into that phases he's typically content to hold his ground and is eliminated from the play.
Competitive Toughness –Motor runs hot and can be found 10+ yards down the field in pursuit of the ball on many occasions. Functional strength meets baseline levels but will be an area of emphasis to help further flesh out his game and provided better anchor at the LOS.
Tackling – Long wingspan comes in handy when rushing the edge track to get a hand on the passer. Great mobility and lean to maximize his reach and disrupt plays. Has been a bit of a ball hunter, has 6 forced fumbles over the last two seasons. Explosive pads.
Lateral Mobility – High level of mobility allows for carrying pursuit outside the numbers. Has done well when isolated on the edge vs. zone read to keep leverage and play outside in. Suddenness allows for a quick inside counter and carrying across the face of his blocker.
Stand Up Ability –Has been featured as a 2-point rusher and been moved all around the defensive front. Has some success playing flat zone after being flexed to jam a release. Has movement skills to milk more out of him in this area as well, although he will be raw if tasked with assignments here.
Football IQ –Has had impressive understanding as a pass rusher going back to first game viewed, but development and proficiency with his hands stands out as differentiator between him and many of his colleagues. Natural sense of navigating the pocket. Elite body control.
BEST TRAIT – Flexibility
WORST TRAIT – Run Defending
BEST FILM – Miami (2018) and Virginia Tech (2018)
WORST FILM – Alabama (2017)
RED FLAGS – None
Brian Burns is a special prospect with dynamic range, explosive qualities and terrific length/polish as a pass rusher. Burns brings one of the finest pass rushing skill sets to the table in recent years and his explosiveness and developed hand usage should help him provide his team with impact pass rush from day one. Burns would be well served to fill out his frame to be a more well-rounded player but he's got game-changing qualities.
Round Grade - Top-10 Overall