5 Panthers players whose hype train is rolling ahead of 2021 season

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Jaycee Horn
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Jaycee Horn /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

Brian Burns – Carolina Panthers DE

If there was quiet optimism surrounding the progress of Brian Burns before the 2020 season, his hype has reached stratospheric levels heading into the new campaign.

This is down in no small part to a fantastic 2020 from the former first-round pick. Burns’ tireless commitment to improving his craft brought some notable results, meaning there should be much more to come with additional talent around him.

Despite the Carolina Panthers’ failure to generate consistent pressure, Burns still managed nine sacks. It could have been even more if he’d managed to finish off some plays with conviction.

That is the thing that separates the good defensive linemen from the elite. No doubt Burns has been developing this area of his game during the offseason and his dominant time on the field in preseason games only whets the appetite further ahead of competitive action.

Recently departed general manager Marty Hurney had many faults. But he knew what a first-round talent looked like and the Panthers can count themselves extremely lucky to have such an explosive presence coming off the edge.

If others on the defense step up and improve their production, then a Pro Bowl-caliber campaign from Burns is not out of the question.

There are few – if any – tackles operating across the league who’ll relish coming up against Burns this season. If everything goes according to plan, the Florida State product could be in for a memorable few months.