How much pressure is on Carolina Panthers DE Brian Burns in 2021?

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

How much pressure is on the shoulders of Carolina Panthers’ defensive end Brian Burns heading into the 2021 season?

The strides made by Brian Burns during his second season with the Carolina Panthers were noticeable and incredibly pleasing in equal measure. His progression from a situational edge rusher to a prolific three-down defensive end was a testament to how hard he worked during the offseason and leaves some high hopes for a true breakout campaign in 2021.

There appears little doubt Burns is set for great things next season.

He told reporters during recent media availability that he’s put on 12 pounds of muscle during his time away from the Panthers. Certainly, something that will help his chances of becoming even more of a difference-maker when competitive action begins.

Burns is now considered one of the league’s brightest young edge rushers. Carolina will be counting on him heavily to lead a young defense to the sort of things expected of a talented unit, which could become a dominant force if everything goes right from the outset.

This is something Burns is undoubtedly aware of. His leadership capabilities also picked up considering over the second half of 2020 and the former Florida State standout is fast becoming someone that other teammates look to for guidance and additional motivation when they need it most.

"“I feel like I’m different than other edges, other ends. I feel like I bring something different in terms of my bend, my flexibility, and my speed. We’re super young, a lot of high-level guys. They really took a big jump last year, and I think we’re can keep building on that. The leaders are stepping into their roles, and we have all this talent. I feel like there’s a lot of energy, a lot of juice.”"

Carolina Panthers should expect more attention on Brian Burns in 2021.

Of course, with additional spotlight comes more focus from opposing protection schemes.

Although Burns is incredibly difficult to stop thanks to his elite skill set, that won’t stop teams from coming up with a specific game plan to minimize the player’s ability to influence proceedings.

As Burns stated recently, it’s a “pick your poison” scenario for anybody coming up against Carolina’s formidable defensive front.

With two space-eating players on the interior in Derrick Brown and DaQuan Jones – together with Haason Reddick flying off the opposite edge – everything is in place for the Panthers to cause some real havoc throughout the season.

Year 3 is typically when we see what a defensive end is truly capable of for the remainder of their career. Burns has quickly emerged into the defensive focal point in Carolina and there is simply no telling just how much better he can get with further improvements to already outstanding physical attributes.

The times when Burns does not become the center of their attention on the field is when he can strike. And if the 2019 first-round pick can finish off plays with better efficiency, the sky is the limit.

Much has been made about the Panthers on the offensive side of the ball. But as the old saying goes – defense wins championships.

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Burns can be the catalyst behind some big things in 2021 and beyond. Some additional pressure on his shoulders is absolutely no problem for the player, who could thrive even more as a result.