It's Time to Start Paying Attention to Panthers' DE Brian Burns

Brian Burns is establishing himself as one of the best pass-rushers in football.
Brian Burns is establishing himself as one of the best pass-rushers in football. / Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Just a year ago, the Carolina Panthers' defense was among the worst in the league. The 2019 Panthers were the league's second-worst scoring defense, the worst rushing defense and a bottom-10 unit in pretty much everything else that matters.

But after overhauling the entire defense in the offseason, things have turned around pretty quickly. Carolina isn't elite on that side of the ball or anything, but jumping from the basement to the middle of the pack in just one season isn't easy.

There are a ton of people who deserve credit for this, but no one deserves more than second-year defensive end Brian Burns, who is quietly becoming a superstar.

A first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Burns showed flashes at times in his rookie season, tallying 7.5 sacks. But he's seemingly put it all together in year two, and the results have been undeniable.

Burns has racked up 6.0 sacks, 41 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 16 QB hits and 3 forced fumbles. Through 11 games he's already matched or exceeded his production from 2019 in each of those categories aside from sacks.

And the advanced numbers paint Burns in an even more favorable light. Entering Week 11, his 28% pass-rush win rate was the ninth-best mark in the league, his 28 pressures were the NFL's second-best mark and Pro Football Focus has given him the league's third-best pass-rushing grade (90.5).

Simply put, this guy is a monster. And it's time for the league to take notice.

If Carolina can add a few pieces around Burns in the offseason, this defense could make another dramatic leap in 2021.

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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.