Carolina Panthers midseason awards for the 2020 campaign

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Jeremy Chinn
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Jeremy Chinn /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

player. 87. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. DE. CAROLINA PANTHERS. BRIANBURNS. 53

Brian Burns – Carolina Panthers DE

There were some lofty expectations on Brian Burns heading into the season. The defensive end came into the campaign as the team’s No. 1 pass-rushing option and he has relished this extra responsibility through the opening eight weeks.

Burns was a pass-rushing specialist as a rookie, but following a host of offseason departures in this area of the field, it has forced the Carolina Panthers to rely more on their 2019 first-round pick becoming a well-rounded defensive end and he has worked hard to make this a possibility.

The former Florida State standout is setting the edge extremely well in run support. And although he struggled to get pressure in the backfield consistently early on, this is something that has progressed a significant amount in recent weeks.

There is just no telling where the Panthers’ defensive line would be without Burns at the moment. He seems to be the only one performing at a level above what’s expected and although this will come with additional attention from protection schemes, he is talented enough to still make a difference.

Burns has 31 combined tackles, 19 solo tackles, three sacks, three forced fumbles, eight quarterback hits, and 18 pressures through eight games. This has resulted in an outstanding 84.4 grade from Pro Football Focus, which is a further indication of just how well the player has been performing this season.