Brian Burns is an explosive pass rusher who played last season at around 235 pounds, which raised concerns about whether he weighed enough to anchor the edge at the next level. But he showed up at the combine weighing 249 pounds and at 6-foot-5, is well within the range of a typical edge rusher or outside linebacker. But watch Burns play and he's anything but typical. In fact, he could end up being a top-10 pick.

College career

Burns played in eight games during his freshman season at Florida State, where he logged 8.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. As a sophomore, he had 4.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss and had his best season in 2018 when he finished with 10 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. He also had seven career forced fumbles, including three last season.

Among all FBS edge rushers, Burns ranked 15th in generating inside pressure, according to Pro Football Focus' metrics and he was 21st in pass-rush productivity.

Combine/pro day results





249 pounds


33 7/8 inches


10 inches


40-yard dash:


Bench press:


Vertical jump:


Broad jump:


3-cone drill:


20-yard shuttle:


60-yard shuttle:


Here's Burns' running a 4.56 (unofficial), which was later officially a 4.53:


Strengths: Concerns about Burns' weight (he reportedly played at 235 during the 2018 season) were alleviated at the combine where he weighed in at 249 pounds. Also helping: The aforementioned 4.53 40 time. Burns is an explosive edge rusher who is surprisingly strong. He regularly wins to the outside with his speed but showed the ability to run stunts inside as well. 

Weaknesses: Burns needs to get better with hand usage and better develop his pass-rush moves but he reminds us on the field of Aldon Smith, who had 14 sacks as a situational pass rusher during his rookie season with the 49ers.

NFL comparison

From CBS Sports NFL draft analyst Chris Trapasso:

Aldon Smith.  Smith had more weight on his frame when he came into the league out of Missouri than Burns does now. Stylistically, they're nearly identical. Smith could dip low underneath tackles as flew tightly around the edge. While he was aware he needed to use his hands, he wasn't particularly polished utilizing them. His speed rush was his most dangerous move. All that is true for Burns, a long, Gumby-like rusher who will threaten most pro tackles with his explosive first step, long arms, and ability to dip around the corner. If he develops go-to pass-rushing maneuvers with his hands to counter his outside rush, Burns can be an All-Pro type. 

NFL teams in play to draft Burns

Giants: The Giants have the No. 6 and No. 17 picks in Round 1. There has been some conversation of them targeting an edge rusher with the first first-rounder, and Burns could be a viable candidate at No. 6 because it's unlikely he'll be around at No. 17. He'd immediately upgrade a unit that lost Olivier Vernon this offseason (he was traded to the Browns this offseason).

Jaguars: Jacksonville has needs at offensive line and tight end as well, and they could address those needs with the No. 7 pick. If not, edge rusher is an obvious choice and Burns could be a likely candidate.

Panthers: Carolina has the No. 16 selection and in addition to offensive line help, they need to bolster the pass rush; Julius Peppers has retired and Mario Addison, who is 31, has one year left on his deal. Burns would be a logical choice -- assuming he was still on the board.

Lions: Detroit has been linked to Rashan Gary, in part because he played at nearby Michigan. But Burns was more productive in college.

Raiders: Oakland, who traded Khalil Mack and cut Bruce Irvin during the 2018 season, desperately need a pass rusher. And while No. 4 may be too early to draft Burns, the Raiders could package subsequent picks to move up from No. 24 and get him.