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5 things to know about Brian 'Spider' Burns


The Giants rang in the new league year by acquiring two-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Brian Burns in a trade with the Panthers. Here are five things to know about the man they call Spider-Burns:

1. How it started

The 16th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, Burns played collegiately at Florida State, where he finished fifth in program history in sacks and eighth in tackles for loss. In 2018, he was named to Phil Steele's All-America Team and All-ACC First Team. He broke onto the scene by leading all freshmen nationally with 9.5 sacks in 2016, the most by a Florida State freshman since 1977. He picked up freshman All-America honors as he helped the Seminoles finish No. 1 in the nation in sacks per game.

2. How it's going

Burns is one of eight players ever to record at least 7.5 sacks in each of his first five seasons (Reggie White, Derrick Thomas, DeMarcus Ware, Jared Allen, Aaron Donald, Ryan Kerrigan, and Yannick Ngakoue).

Overall, Burns had 46 sacks in 80 career games (67 starts) with the Panthers. His sack total is tied for 12th in the NFL since he entered the league while his 59 tackles for loss are tied for sixth-most in that span. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder also has 95 quarterback hits, eight forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. Burns posted career-highs in sacks (12.5) and quarterback hits (22) in 2022, when he earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl nod.

3. He crawled up the Panthers' record books

In Week 5 of last season, Burns sacked Lions quarterback Jared Goff in the third quarter, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Kevin Greene (41.5) for the fifth-most sacks in Panthers history. In Week 3, against the Seattle Seahawks, he surpassed Greg Hardy (44) for seventh place on the franchise list of tackles for loss.

4. He will team up with Dexter Lawrence, Kayvon Thibodeaux in new-look defense

During a live Q&A with fans on from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, general manager Joe Schoen shed some light on what the new defense will look like under Shane Bowen after the team parted ways with Wink Martindale.

"Philosophically, Wink preferred more run stoppers on first and second down – let's get to third down where we can do the exotics and blitz and all that stuff," Schoen said. "Whereas Shane's philosophy is going to be a little bit more, let's get after the passer – like we'll stop the run on the way to the passer and going to look for more edge guys and ability to rush the passer versus stopping the run. Stopping the run is still going to be important, it's always going to be important, but in terms of how you're prioritizing those, you may flip those in the new scheme."

Burns will now have fellow two-time Pro Bowler Dexter Lawrence on the inside and Kayvon Thibodeaux, who just turned in his first double-digit sack season, on the outside. According to Pro Football Focus, the trio combined for 148 quarterback pressures in 2023.

View photos of the newest members of the Giants touring the Quest Diagnostics Training Center for the first time.

5. New York has his spidey senses tingling

Spider emoji. Rush Hour 2 GIF. Burns' first social media post after news broke about his trade said it all. The Fort Lauderdale native is eager to see what New York has to offer, and Giants legend Justin Tuck is ready to show him around.

Meanwhile, Giants fans are getting to know the edge rusher who assumes the identity of Spider-Man once he takes the field. The alter ego, Burns has explained, is because he shares the same attributes as the superhero: quickness, speed, length, flexibility, and instinct. He even does the Spider-Man pose after every sack, which fans hope to see frequently in 2024 and beyond.

View the best photos from the NFL career of outside linebacker Brian Burns.


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