5 bold predictions for the Carolina Panthers in 2022
By Dean Jones
Carolina Panthers DE Brian Burns gains 15+ sacks
There is an enormous amount of pressure on Brian Burns next season. The defensive end carries the team’s hopes of generating pressure consistently and he won’t have the benefit of Hasson Reddick flying off the opposite edge after he left in free agency for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Burns had his fifth-year option picked up as expected this offseason after reaching his first Pro Bowl in 2021. However, the Carolina Panthers are anticipating the former Florida State standout to take another giant leap forward into the elite category in Year 4 of his professional career.
The athletic attributes are all there for Burns to achieve this feat. But he must start converting his explosive pressures into sacks more frequently.
This is arguably the biggest criticism of Burns, although gap discipline against the run also needs brushing up on occasions. He is also a prominent figure within the locker room, which comes with obvious responsibilities both on and off the field.
If Burns can put everything together, there isn’t much any opposing offensive lineman can do to stop him. Something that could see the edge rusher put up some career numbers across the board.
Only T.J. Watt, Robert Quinn, Myles Garrett, and Nick Bosa gained 15 or more sacks in 2022. If Burns can get to this number, it would make him a very rich man indeed.