*Our DL grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.

 

Burns is the third 2019 defensive end prospect I’ve taken a deeper study on. Montez Sweat, Nick Bosa, and then Brian Burns. I can’t help but give the easy scouting quick synopsis of – Burns is good, but he’s no Montez Sweat or Nick Bosa.

In other years, Burns might be the #1 defensive end prospect in his draft class, but he has the misfortune of being in the NFL Draft with two ‘generational talents’ – Sweat and Bosa.

The Sweat and Bosa comps are going to make Burns seem like a downer, but he’s a legit top NFL prospect and instant starting EDGE rusher in the NFL. He has the size (nearly 6’5”/249) and athleticism (4.53 40-time and 7.01 three cone as an example) of a top DE prospect…especially the 4.53 40-time at his size. We would normally fall all over ourselves about that kind of speed from that size player, but after Montez Sweat ran his record-breaking 4.41…Burns has become an afterthought.

Burns is more like Sweat than Bosa. Nick Bosa is a bulldozer come to life. All muscle, immovable, and will just push blockers into the backfield. Sweat and Burns, are better athletes and use speed (vs. power) to get to the backfield…and they’re also both ‘heads up’ players. Bosa puts his head down a lot and just bum-rushes the backfield, which is occasionally a negative (good) play made by Bosa…but too many times a play goes right past him and he doesn’t realize it and/or after his surge he’ll stop and watch if he didn’t get to the prize. Sweat and Burns can be blocked out of plays more easily off the snap, but they’re more adept at dancing with blockers on purpose watching plays develop and pursuing runs and screens, etc. You get more total field coverage and plays made with Sweat-Burns, but maybe not as many ‘sexy’ sack counts for the highlight reel. We don’t track numbers of when an athletic defensive end holds his ground, sheds a block when he sees a quick pass/bubble screen out his way and holds the play to 0-3 yards where a pass rusher not paying attention to anything but getting through his blocker unwittingly allows that same screen to go for 5-10-20-a long TD. We don’t track it…but it’s a monumental event; just like a sack is.

Watching Burns on tape, he’s a classic speed rusher. Tries to come off the EDGE with quickness past the offensive tackle, and then bends around him using nice reach to try to get to the quarterback. Like most pass rushers, OTs will just use that momentum and move him too far away from the pocket, but Burns is so fast that any slip up by the blocker and Burns is right past him and on the QB in an instant. With 4.53 speed…he can make up ground fast.

What I love with Burns is his willingness to play the run and play through every play. He rarely is seen just standing or trotting lightly. I’ve seen Burns chase RBs 10+ yards downfield and catch them or close the gap in a hurry…his speed is real. His effort is high. His abilities are high-end.

His worst game, on paper, in 2018 was against Clemson (1 tackle, no sacks). I didn’t see any issues with Burns there. Clemson was moving fast to neutralize him…they had better blocking and double team chip blocking than most of his other opponents. Burns had his hands on the Clemson QB several times or blasted him while he dumped the ball. The prior season, 2017, Burns had 7 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, and 2.0 sacks vs. Clemson. They learned their lesson in 2018 and paid more attention.

Burns is a serious, no joking around, nice enough young man in interviews. A team captain in 2018, but more does the talking with his play.

I see no real flaws with Burns except…he’s not as a great as Montez Sweat, on paper, but I’m not sure anyone in history has the athletic profile of Sweat among EDGE prospects.


 

Brian Burns, Through the Lens of Our DE Scouting Algorithm:


Just to show some of the differences in style/output of the top DE prospects…

Five or more total tackles in a game in 2018:

5 times = Burns

5 times = Sweat

2 times = Bosa (2017, his last full season)

Burns and Sweat are going to make more plays all over the field than Bosa, who makes his plays in a very tight window area of the field.


Burns had 1.5 or more sacks in a game in seven of his last 17 games. 14.0 sacks total in that 17-game span. 

Burns has 1.5 or more TFLs in a game in 10 of his last 17 games…25.0 TFLs in that 17-game span. 


Against Clemson 2x, Florida 2x, Notre Dame, and Alabama the past two seasons: 28 tackles (4.5 per game), 7.0 TFLs (1.2 per game), 3.5 sacks (0.6 per game), 3 forced fumbles (0.5 per game).


2019 NFL Combine Measurables…

6’4.6”/249, 10” hands, 33.8” arms

4.53 40-time, 1.57 10-yard, 7.01 three-cone

DNP bench, 36” vertical, 10’9” broad jump 



The Historical DE Prospects to Whom Brian Burns Most Compares Within Our System:


I love the Javon Kearse and Danielle Hunter comps. The difference among the three was that Hunter was a ghost in production in college…he had everything but results, in college. Burns has no such issue.


DE Score

Last

First

Yr


College

H

H

W

Tackle, Strngth Metric

Speed, Agility Metric

Pass Rush Metric

Tackle Metric

9.336

Burns

Brian

2019

Florida St.

6

4.6

249

9.67

12.66

8.96

5.79

9.426

Kearse

Javon

1999

Florida

6

4.7

262

8.58

11.72

7.41

7.44

5.331

Hunter

Danielle

2015

LSU

6

5.1

252

8.38

10.64

5.09

4.84

7.928

Harold

Eli

2015

Virginia

6

3.1

247

9.98

10.82

7.94

5.26

11.034

Barwin

Connor

2009

Cincinnati

6

3.5

256

10.25

13.33

12.26

6.01

7.295

Sweat

Josh

2018

Florida St.

6

4.6

251

8.69

11.85

7.85

5.53


*A score of 8.00+ is where we see a stronger correlation of DEs going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL DE.

All of the DE ratings are based on a 0–10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.

Power-Strength Metrics = A combination of several measurements. An attempt to classify the DE prospect as more of a battle-in-the-trenches type of DE, a 'bull-rusher', and/or a DE prospect who has some DT capabilities.

Speed-Agility Metrics = A combination of several speed, agility, size measurements. A unique measuring system to look for DEs who profile more as speed-rush, stand-up DEs, and/or possible OLBs.

Pass-Rusher Rating = A combination of physical measurables, and college performance, graded historically for future NFL profiling. In the simplest of terms, this is an attempt to classify whether a particular DE is likely to achieve high sack totals in the NFL. We know the 'system'/scheme the DE goes on to play in has a part in future success...but so do the player's skills and performance history. "You can't keep a good man/DE down," we'd like to think.

Tackling Rating = A combination of physical measurables, and college performance, graded historically for future NFL profiling. In the simplest of terms, this is an attempt to classify the DE as one more likely to be involved in a heavy amount of tackles, tackles for a loss, and forced fumbles. Lower-scoring DEs in this subcategory tend to be more pure pass-rushers/specialists. This is also our attempt to quantify, if it's possible, the 'toughness' of a player.

2019 NFL Draft Outlook:

It looks like Burns’ Combine performance has locked him into the 1st-round of the 2019 NFL Draft, as it should. How high? My estimate would be top 15. Disruptive, athletic defensive ends are so critical/valuable, and there are several to choose from this year…but I think Burns is worthy of the top 15. He might even sneak into the top 10. 

If I were an NFL GM, I would not push for Burns…I’d want Sweat-Bosa top 10, but not Burns…per se. I see 10+ other better prospects overall than Burns, but he is not likely going to bust on you…so if pressed by ‘need’, I could see a trigger pulled on Burns by me in the top 10. I’m pro-Burns, I just don’t see him as a super-elite…and, thus, there are near-as-talented, better value guys available later. Just nitpicking. 

It’s a really dumb paragraph I just wrote. Top 15, yes…but top 10, maybe/no? He’s very good and a top prospect and worthy of a look near the top…the end. 


NFL Outlook:   

Drafted high to start right away and does…and has a fine career. Pro Bowl-level. Not seen as one of the best at his positions but definitely better than average+. 





3/19/2019