Panthers depth chart focus: Is there enough at DE in 2022?

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

Brian Burns – Carolina Panthers DE

There is a huge weight on Brian Burns‘ shoulders next season. The defensive end took another leap forward last time around to record nine sacks and earn a first Pro Bowl selection, which made it a no-brainer for the Carolina Panthers to pick up his fifth-year option way ahead of the deadline.

Burns clearly benefitted from the presence of Haason Reddick flying off the other edge. However, that won’t be the case next season and it will be interesting to see how the former first-round pick copes with being the primary target for opposing protection schemes constantly.

The Florida State product has everything athletic tool imaginable to potentially enter the elite category of pass rushers in the coming years. Burns has also received praise for his emergence into a leadership role to further enhance his influence on and off the field.

Judging by how Burns is looking during offseason workouts, he’s bulked up a little away from the gridiron. Something that should improve his ability to stop the run providing there is more gap discipline from the player once competitive action commences.

Turning considerable pressures into more sacks would also help Burns reach the next level. He is an integral member of the team and if further strides are made, then the Panthers might give him one of their most lucrative extensions ever.