Giants’ Edge Predicted to Be ‘Even Stronger’ in 2024

Brian Burns

Getty A New York Giants' edge-rusher is predicted to be "even stronger" in 2024.

When the New York Giants traded for edge-rusher Brian Burns, they did so hoping to add a game-wrecking talent to their pass rush. That hope required something of a leap of faith based on Burns’ struggles in 2023, but there are good reasons to believe the former Carolina Panthers stud will be “stronger” this season.

The reasons are spelled out by Lead Draft Writer Eric Edholm. He thinks “Burns was pretty darned good last season, all things considered, but it was a trying final year in Carolina. In addition to not yet receiving his long-awaited payday, Burns also had to deal with an elbow injury that forced him to play strictly on the left side of the field for a big chunk of the season. He also played with no true pass-rush threat opposite him all season long on a team that rarely had the lead in games. The Panthers technically didn’t lead a single game in the fourth quarter all season, securing both of their victories on last-second field goals.”

Those factors help explain why “Burns’ sacks and pressure rate were both down from the previous two seasons, even though his performance hadn’t dropped off considerably”

Fortunately, Edholm anticipates that thanks to “operating on a line featuring Dexter Lawrence and Kayvon Thibodeaux, the hope is that the 26-year-old can make his sixth season the best of his career.”

It’s a reasonable prediction given the talent around Burns on a loaded Giants’ front seven. There’s also the player’s own solid track record of putting heat on the pocket.

Brian Burns Has Track Record Giants Need

Burns may have seen his sack totals dip from 13 to eight, but the 26-year-old still managed to stay disruptive on a losing team. He was in on 21 quarterback pressures, forced two hurries and recorded 11 QB knockdowns, according to Pro Football Reference.

Those numbers were yielded from a varied rush plan. Burns is a fluid mover who can dip underneath an offensive tackle, the way he did against the Giants and Andrew Thomas in 2022, for a pressure highlighted by Justin Penik of Talkin’ Giants.

There’s also a spin move that’s brought Burns a ton of joy throughout his career. Like when Burns got in Tom Brady’s face back in 2020, per Aaron Day of DLineVids.

Plays like these show what the Giants got for the pair of draft picks they sent to Carolina on March 11. Namely, a dynamic and versatile disruptor along the line of scrimmage who can thrive individually and also help those around him make more splash plays.

The latter is an exciting prospect given the talent the Giants already possess up front.

Loaded Giants’ Line Can Dominate

Burns’ supporting cast is headlined by All-Pro nose tackle Dexter Lawrence II. He’s considered by many, including Gordon McGuinness of Pro Football Focus, as the best in the league at his position: “there is no better nose tackle in football right now than Lawrence, regardless of whether he lines up directly over or shades the center.”

Lawrence creating havoc and tying up blockers from over the ball will create one-on-one matchups for Burns on the outside. So will the presence of Kayvon Thibodeaux on the other edge.

Thibodeaux enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2023 by logging 11.5 sacks, 35 pressures and 12 tackles for loss. Offensive lines trying to keep Lawrence in check won’t have the resources to double Thibodeaux and Burns.

Meanwhile, quarterbacks trying to escape pressure off the edge will inevitably run right into Lawrence. The same dynamic helped Burns create a sack for defensive tackle DeShawn Williams against the New Orleans Saints last season, highlighted by Cat Crave’s Ricky Raines.

Giants’ defensive coordinator Shane Bowen can build his scheme around a similar if one doesn’t get you, the other will, setup. It will hinge on Burns being as strong as Edholm predicts and taking sufficient attention away from bluechip pass-rushers Lawrence and Thibodeaux.

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