5 Panthers players on course for the Pro Bowl through Week 4

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Robby Anderson
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Robby Anderson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

Brian Burns – Carolina Panthers DE

An increased sense of responsibility seems to be bringing out the best in Brian Burns. While he hasn’t filled up the stats sheet like many anticipated, one cannot deny that he is not evolving into a well-rounded defensive end that can make an impact on almost every down.

The former first-round pick has really come on over the last two weeks. But that should not detract from what a difference he made early in the season despite not being able to generate sufficient pressure in opposing backfields.

Burns is setting the edge superbly in running situations, which was an element to his game that simply wasn’t there during his rookie season. Defensive coordinator Phil Snow tried to get a little too cute with the pass-rusher in his first two contests, but the penny has finally dropped now and this has allowed the Florida State product to get back to doing what he does best.

He has recorded 13 combined tackles, ten solo tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, four quarterback hits, and three tackles for loss through four games of the campaign. This has given Burns an eye-catching 73.7 grade from Pro Football Focus and the potential regarding the player seems to be limitless.

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Burns is growing in stature with every passing game. That represents good news for the Carolina Panthers and bad news for any opposing offensive lineman coming up against him this season and beyond.