Carolina Panthers training camp: 4 big questions facing the DL

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Derrick Brown
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Derrick Brown /
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Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns /

Carolina Panthers Question No. 1: Can Brian Burns make a giant leap?

The potential surrounding Brian Burns heading into training camp and the new season is significant. Last year’s first-round pick showed a tremendous amount of promise as a rookie. And another big leap is expected as the Carolina Panthers’ No. 1 pass-rushing option.

Burns has everything one looks for in a premier force on the edge. He is lighting fast off the block and possesses the footwork to blow past opposing linemen at any given opportunity.

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Playing a three-down role will be another test of his credentials. But it would be a huge surprise if Burns didn’t make the most out of this opportunity.

His run defense will need to improve. And Burns will also need to add some more refined moves to his pass-rushing repertoire to take the step up to a potential Pro Bowl-caliber player in 2020.

The former Florida State standout should get plenty of space to work thanks to the presence of Kawann Short and Derrick Brown. But teams will now have some solid film at the next level to counteract his supreme threat.

This is another obstacle that Burns needs to overcome as a sophomore. But there is just no telling what a positive first season as a pro will do for his confidence going forward.

Burns secured 7.5 sacks from just 42.9 percent of the Panthers’ defensive snaps in 2019. Securing a double-digit sack total is a realistic aim for the player. And he will know all-too-well how much responsibility is on his shoulders.