Brian Burns’ red-hot start to the season has been one of the few bright spots in an uneven season so far for the Florida State Seminoles. The defensive end’s play is opening the eyes of NFL scouts and at least one NFL Draft prognosticator now considers the Plantation American Heritage alumnus a potential top-20 pick.
Mel Kiper Jr., who has covered the Draft for ESPN since 1984, unveiled his updated big board Thursday and Burns is one of the biggest climbers. The defensive lineman is up to No. 19 in the latest update, climbing four spots from Kiper’s last set of rankings. Burns’ two-sack, one-forced fumble game against the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday is at least part of the reason why.
“Florida State almost upset Miami on Saturday and Burns had two sacks in the loss,” Kiper wrote in an ESPN+ article. “The twitchy pass-rusher has been a bright spot with seven sacks in six games.”
Burns’ seven sacks so far are tied for fifth most in the country. He has also been prolific in terms of tackles for a loss. His 9.5 are tied for 16th nationally. His 2018 season has already almost surpassed a strong 2017, when he racked up 4.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss as a sophomore. As a freshman in 2016, Burns logged a career-high 9.5 sacks.
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Burns has been a standout dating back to his career at American Heritage, when he played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and earned first-team All-Broward County honors from the Miami Herald. The edge rusher logged 60 tackles and 14 sacks as a senior year with the Patriots. At 6 feet, 5 inches and 235 pounds, Burns has always possessed the frame scouts look for, as well.
“There’s a chance,” Kiper wrote, “he rises even more after the combine.”
Kiper’s rankings only stretch to 25 at this point, so Burns is the only prospect from a Florida school on the list. Eight defensive linemen, three defensive end and two outside linebackers sit ahead of Burns in Kiper’s rankings.