CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Carolina Panthers hope they have found another explosive pass rushing defensive end in Brian Burns.
Carolina selected the Florida State standout with the 16th pick in Thursday's night draft to bolster a pass rush that finished 27th in the league in sacks last season. The Panthers hope he is a long-term replacement for likely future Hall of Famer Julius Peppers.
The 6-foot-5, 249-pound Burns had 15 1/2 tackles for loss and 10 sacks to go along with 52 tackles last season.
Burns also broke up three passes and forced three fumbles and earned first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors.
He burst on the scene in 2017 when he had two sacks and 4 ½ tackles against Clemson. He finished with career with 124 tackles and 24 sacks for the Seminoles.
Burns was the fifth defensive end taken in the first 16 picks of the draft.
Carolina needed a defensive end after struggling to apply pressure the quarterback last season, although offensive tackle was also an option.
Peppers' retirement earlier this offseason only added to the need for a pass rusher. Carolina signed free agent edge rusher Bruce Irvin this offseason but he's viewed as a stopgap.
Burns told Channel 9''s Sports Director Phil Orban he idolized Peppers as a kid and when his brother, Stanley McClover was drafted by the Panthers when Burns was 8 years old.
"Crazy, it was fun. I was kind of, I was kind of I don't know I don't want to say I was scared, but I was looking at Pep kinda weird because he was huge. I mean that's probably the biggest person I've seen at the time," Burns said.
The Panthers are looking to rebound from a disappointing season in which they lost seven of their last eight games to fall out of playoff contention and finish 7-9.
Carolina has three picks on Friday night - one in the second round (No. 47 overall) and two in the third (No. 77 and No. 100).
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