USA Today unveiled a NFL mock draft on Wednesday that has former Florida State defensive end Brian Burns coming off the board at No. 16 overall to the Carolina Panthers. Burns officially declared for the 2019 NFL Draft in early December, opting to pass on playing his senior season for the Seminoles.
Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz assembled the mock draft for the publication and shared his reasoning for why he sees Burns being the right fit for the Ron Rivera‘s defense in the coming years.
“Julius Peppers turns 39 in January and hasn’t indicated whether he plans to return. Carolina needs to rejuvenate its edge rush regardless of his decision. Burns has the burst and bend to leave opposing tackles flustered, though he’ll have to fill out his 6-5, 235-pound frame,” Middlehurst-Schwartz wrote.
He finished his college career with 124 tackles and 38.5 tackles for loss, as well as seven forced fumbles. He was also voted a team captain at the start of the season and was often praised by coaches not only for his production this year, but his energy and effort.
The full mock draft can be found here.
FSU has had a first-round selection in five of the last six NFL drafts. In 2018, Derwin James was taken with the 17th overall selection by the Los Angeles Chargers. If Burns was to go at No. 16, that would be the highest selection of a defensive end out of FSU since Kamerion Wimbley went No. 13 overall to the Cleveland Browns in the 2006 NFL Draft.
The 2019 NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 25th and will conclude on Saturday, April 27th. The 2019 NFL Draft will be held in Nashville, Tenn.