Packers: Stealing one player from each NFC South team

Michael Thomas (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Michael Thomas (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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Brian Burns
Brian Burns (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Carolina Panthers: EDGE Brian Burns

As difficult as it is to pass up on adding All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, the Packers already have a deep backfield with Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, and Jamaal Williams. Despite McCaffrey’s ability to dominate between the tackles and as a receiver, bringing him in would mean fewer snaps for Jones and the other running backs.

Instead, I’ve addressed the defense again. After adding a dominant defensive tackle in Grady Jarrett, we now strengthen the pass rush with a rising star, Brian Burns.

Yes, the Packers already have Za’Darius and Preston Smith, who together form one of the best pass-rushing duos in football. And, yes, they have high expectations for second-year Rashan Gary. But the most dominant defenses have great depth at edge rusher and adding Burns would give the Packers that. Like Gary, Burns was a first-round pick in 2019 and has a ton of potential.

Burns impressed in his rookie season, making 7.5 sacks and 16 quarterback hits as a rotational pass rusher for the Panthers. Adding him to the Packers defense would allow Mike Pettine to keep the Smith Bros. fresh by rotating them out more often, while also giving Pettine more flexibility to move Za’Darius Smith or Gary inside with Burns rushing off the edge.

You can never have too many talented edge rushers. After losing Kyler Fackrell in free agency, the Packers would get stronger here by adding a first-round pick.