Re-grading Carolina Panthers 2019 NFL Draft class after two years

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Brian Burns /

Pick No. 2

Greg Little – Carolina Panthers OT

  • Draft grade –

Not only was Greg Little not worth a second-round pick in 2019. But the Carolina Panthers actually moved up to acquire the offensive lineman at No. 37 overall.

This decision just hasn’t panned out. Little has had plenty of chances to prove his worth during his first two years in the NFL and his distinct lack of ability protecting on the edge will force the Panthers to look elsewhere for a long-term option at left tackle this offseason.

Little can have absolutely no complaints. Free-agent signing Trenton Scott was even preferred to the player late in the season despite their depth being decimated by injury, which makes the writing on the wall, to put it mildly.

Pick No. 1

Brian Burns – Carolina Panthers DE

  • Draft grade – A+

For all Marty Hurney’s faults, he struck gold with his first-round picks during his second spell as general manager. One such prospect was Brian Burns, who was taken No. 16 overall out of Florida State and after showing plenty of promise in year one on a rotational basis, the defensive end broke out with more responsibility on his shoulders in 2020.

Burns was an absolute revelation on the edge to become one of the league’s brightest young rushers. His development to a three-down lineman who could make a difference was eye-catching and there is nothing to suggest he cannot get even better with another offseason period to hone his craft.

The sky is the limit for Burns, it’s as simple as that. His explosiveness and ability to generate pressure at will is sure to be key to Carolina’s success in the coming years and the organization is extremely fortunate to have him.