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Florida State EDGE Brian Burns should be in the conversation for sixth overall

Could FSU EDGE Brian Burns help replace Olivier Vernon?

NCAA Football: Samford at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants had, arguably, the worst pass rush in the league while Olivier Vernon was sidelined with a high ankle sprain to start the season. And while the pass rush picked up when he returned to the field, it was also clear that even with Vernon the Giants needed to invest in another pass rusher.

With Vernon now in Cleveland, the need to invest in a pass rusher is that much greater.

Fortunately, this is a fantastic year in which to need a pass rusher, and there are potentially elite players available at the top of the draft. Florida State EDGE Brian Burns hasn’t gotten the attention that some of the other defenders, but he bears a striking resemblance to a player the Giants fell in love with last year in Lorenzo Carter. Could the Giants select Burns at the top of the draft and add another long, lanky, and highly athletic EDGE to their defense?



  • Possesses rare length with a tall frame and long arms.
  • Excellent first step.
  • Elite athleticism for the position.
  • Good lower-body flexibility to bend around the edge.
  • Generally plays with good pad level.
  • Uses his hands well to keep blockers off his chest.


  • Narrow frame and weight could be a concern for some teams.
  • Power at the point of attack is a question.

Prospect Video

What They’re Saying

Burns is a refined pass rusher that dominated power five competition throughout his college career. While it’s easy to love his high-variance, technically refined and gifted pass rushing skill set, Burns is a more versatile defender than he is often credited for. He can win from a three-point or stand-up position with playmaking ability against the run, in coverage and attacking the quarterback. His blend of length, flexibility, technical refinement, football IQ and burst serve as a strong foundation for him to become a dynamic playmaking defender in the NFL.

- Joe Marino (The Draft Network - Scouting Report)

Does He Fit The Giants?

If the Giants want to spend one of their first round picks on an EDGE player, then Burns would be a good choice. Athletically, he profiles similarly to Lorenzo Carter, with an excellent blend of length and athleticism, but unlike Carter, he is a polished technician coming out of college.

Burns has the ability to rush from all over the defensive front, as well as play out of both two and three-point stances, which would fit well with the Giants’ “multiple” look defense.

The Giants famously prefer big players on defense, and Burns’ weight and frame might be a concern for them -- he reportedly played at just 230 pounds in college, he uses his hands and length well to keep offensive linemen from being able to lock in and control him. Between his length, burst, and polished hand usage, he is a difficult player to block around the edge and was routinely disruptive in opponents’ backfields. In 33 games at Florida State, Burns racked up 123 tackles, 38.5 tackles for a loss, 23 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, and 7 passes defensed.

If the Giants don’t get hung up on his relatively slender frame, he should be in the conversation for the sixth overall pick.