Florida State defensive end Brian Burns’ football career will continue in the South.
The Carolina Panthers selected the former Seminole with the No. 16 overall pick Thursday night in the first round of the NFL draft.
Burns established himself as one of the best pass rushers in a class loaded with them after having one of the most prolific careers in FSU history.
In three years, he amassed 24 sacks — fifth-most ever at FSU —and ranked eighth all-time with 39 ½ tackles for a loss. He also racked up 124 total tackles in 38 career games (25 starts) to live up to his blue-chip billing as a U.S. Army All-American at Plantation American Heritage.
Burns is quick and explosive, so the only question is his size; his 6-foot-5 frame was listed at only 235 pounds in college.
Burns is the Seminoles’ 45th all-time first-round pick and their 24th since 2000. He’s also the 15th defensive lineman drafted out of FSU over the last 12 years.
FSU’s other top prospect is another defensive lineman — Demarcus Christmas, a tackle from Bradenton’s Manatee High. Christmas is a possible Day 3 pick, but if he isn’t drafted, it’ll mark the first time since 2009 and fifth time since the NFL-AFL merger that FSU failed to have two players picked.