Carolina Panthers: 4 exciting storylines heading into 2020

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) D.J. Moore
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) D.J. Moore /
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Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns /

Carolina Panthers Storyline No. 1: Brian Burns’ sophomore surge

One of the more exciting things to keep an eye on during the season is a possible sophomore surge from Brian Burns. The 2019 first-round pick performed exceptionally well during the limited time on the field as a rookie. And he will be given a more prominent role going forward following a number of veteran departures.

There is nothing to suggest that Burns is not more than ready for such a responsibility. The defensive end was on the field for 42.9 percent of defensive snaps for the Carolina Panthers in 2019. And he still managed to attain 7.5 sacks thanks to his incredible explosiveness off the block.

Burns will need to get better at run support in his new role as an every-down lineman. But this is something he is capable of with some extra experience under his belt.

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Another thing that Burns has going for him is the overall strength of the Panthers’ defensive front. The organization toom defensive tackle Derrick Brown No. 7 overall to line up alongside returning veteran Kawann Short on the interior. Both players command so much attention that it is going to see plenty of opportunities for Carolina’s pass-rushers to make an impact.

Burns has plenty of responsibility on his shoulders heading into his second year as a professional. How he handles the pressure is going to be crucial. And if he can take another leap forward then the organization is going to have one of the NFL’s premier rushers on their hands.