This is the second in an ongoing series on 2019 NFL Draft prospects by Chris Reed. He will evaluate projected first-round picks and their fit for the Raiders. Today, we look at Florida State’s talented EDGE rusher Brian Burns.
Name: Brian Burns
School: Florida State
Fluid pass rusher with good change of direction ability, good short area quickness with an explosive initial burst, instinctive at getting small and shrinking blocking surfaces, has a quality pass rush toolbox, attacks offensive line sets with a plan and utilized counters well, flashed some speed to power ability, used length well and keep himself clean, played from a two, three, and four-point stance, Large frame that can handle more bulk, didn’t get lost in space and attacked the ball effectively, held up surprisingly well against the run for his weight.
A lighter prospect that could add some pop to his strikes, limited in his position versatility, needs to improve his block shedding and tended to simply hold his ground against the run, added strength would improve his speed to power capability.
Why He Would Fit the Raiders
Burns may be the best pure speed pass rusher in this draft. His 23 sacks during his time at Florida State do not do him justice, though he added 10 of them last season. There were times that he simply outclassed offensive tackles with his burst and ability to get small as he turned the corner.
The sheer size of his pass rush toolbox is impressive for a prospect who is only 20 years old. He doesn’t only rely on his get off to get pass offensive tackles. He has a plan and attacks their sets with “swipe and rips,” “arm overs,” and even “spin” moves. This is a player that can be counted on to get to the quarterback from day one.
It was also pretty apparent that he has received some quality coaching when he was forced to play in space. Younger players tend to drift but Burns showed the awareness to cover the flat then break down and attack the ball carrier. He will be a player the team will really consider if he is still there at their 24th overall pick. He could go much earlier if he adds weight and tests well during this years combine.
Why He Would Not Fit the Raiders
While Burns didn’t get moved often in the run game, he didn’t exactly attack it either. He seemed to be focused on keeping containment and holding his ground than shedding blocks. This could be helped by the added weight he will undoubtedly be putting on.
The biggest impediment that would keep Brian off the Raiders roster may be simple draft value. He may not climb up boards enough to be considered at the team’s fourth overall position in the first round. He will also most likely be gone before they are back on the clock at pick number 24. Even though he would fill a need for and accomplished EDGE rusher, GM Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden may not want to use the draft capital to move up to select him.