4 Carolina Panthers players to get excited about in 2021

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /
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Carolina Panthers
(Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

Brian Burns – Carolina Panthers DE

If the 2020 season was a superb one for Brian Burns, then what comes next has the potential to be even better. The defensive end took on plenty of extra responsibility following a number of veteran departures during free agency, but it was evident very early on that this was going to be the making of him.

The 2019 first-round pick was used primarily on a rotational basis as a rookie by former head coach Ron Rivera. But now Burns is the undisputed No. 1 pass-rushing option for the Carolina Panthers and has the potential to be one of the NFL’s best at the position with another offseason to hone his exceptional physical attributes.

Burns possesses the sort of explosiveness that has to be seen to be believed. He gets to the spot almost too quickly at times and once he refines this to finish plays off more efficiently, there will be no stopping him.

The former Florida State standout recorded 16.5 sacks, 83 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 37 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles, and 59 pressures over his first two years in the NFL. This has come from 57 percent of the Panthers’ defensive snaps and further proof that the sky is the limit where Burns is concerned.

Getting pressure from elsewhere improved as the season went on, which is something that needs to continue if Carolina wants to get the best out of Burns moving forward.