As the draft inches closer and closer, the Buccaneers’ options in the first round seem as clouded as ever. They coud focus on the defensive line, especially given the questions surrounding Gerald McCoy. They could look for an edge rusher, an inside linebacker, or they could look to upgrade the secondary.
The best bet, right now, is focusing on the front seven. There will be solid options at corner and safety on day two that could still be immediate starters. In the first round? Not only are you looking for a day one starter, but a major impact player. Brian Burns has the potential to be one of those kinds of players.
Brian Burns Career
Brian Burns played 33 games in his three years with the Florida State Seminoles, finishing with 123 total tackles, 38.5 tackles for loss, 23 sackss, seven passes defensed, seven forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. Burns’ breakout season was 2018 as a Junior where he had fifteen tackles for loss, ten sacks, and 52 total tackles - all career highs. He also finished with the second most sacks in the ACC for 2018.
Burns was one of the few bright spots for the Noles in 2018. His incredible one step burst is one of the biggest reasons he’s so highly coveted. That burst has allowed him to get into the backfield and disrupt plays - whether that be a sack or stopping a run play before it starts. He’s already ahead of the game with a deverse set of moves to avoid and beat blockers, rather than relying on just speed and length. He doesn’t quit on a play, sometimes running the full length of the field to try and track down a ball carrier. Incredibly intelligent and can quickly assess and breakdown what he’s seeing develop in front of him.
Although he can play standing up or with his hand in the dirt, he isn’t great at any of them. He’s good, not great. He needs to go where he can focus on one of those rather than bounce around. His body is also a concern, as he needs to gain some weight at the next level but doesn’t have the broad frame to support it. Has problems disengaging from blocks once they square up on him.
Why The Buccaneers Need Him
The Bucs need to continue to fortify the front seven and bolster the pass rush as they convert the defense to a 3-4. Yes, this sounds like a broken record, but not all players can play both and switching a defense to a new scheme does take some work - and a lot of roster turnover. The Bucs have to find these guys that can disrupt plays and they need to find them at all the spots in the front seven. Adding a player like Burns - who is already an impact level player - has a very high ceiling. He would give the defense a huge boost working wth Jason Pierre-Paul and Carl Nassib as the edge presences.
Will It Happen?
This is one of the trade down targets that the Bucs likely have on their radar. Number five is too rich, but dropping to the 10-15 range would net the Bucs’ additional picks and an impact pass rusher/run stopper. If the Bucs stay at five, they need to be looking at players like Quinnen Williams, Josh Allen, etc. In a trade down scenario, Burns would surely be one of the top targets for Tampa Bay to help continue to build a dominant pass rush.