If you haven't watched the Carolina Panthers on a consistent basis, you might have missed the 16.5 sacks piled up by Brian Burns in the last two seasons.
There's an even likelier chance you forgot to check up on former first-round pick Haason Reddick before the final quarter of the 2020 campaign. Both are now teammates in Carolina, though, and they're determined to make sure you remember their names.
Burns posted a career-high nine sacks in 2020, providing the NFL evidence of his promising future. At just 23 years old, Burns is among the top three edge rushers under 25 years old, finishing 2020 as one of just nine defenders to post 55 or more disruptions (a hurry, QB pressure or sack) in the entire NFL, per Next Gen Stats. Burns is poised for a legitimate breakout season before long and he's excited to welcome a running mate who finished just two disruptions shy of Burns (Reddick recorded 53 disruptions in 2020). The addition of Reddick will make Carolina into a fearsome pass-rushing unit in 2021, according to Burns.
"He's gonna add a lot of versatility, honestly," Burns said of Reddick on Good Morning Football Wednesday. "He can do a lot of things -- so can I -- but having both of us on the edge, they're going to have to pick their poison. They can't double-team both of us or the guys in the middle. We added a lot of great additions to this defense and to this team in general, and I really do think he's going to do great things for us. We're also gonna have a like little sack competition, so y'all be ready for that."
Reddick's addition likely wouldn't have generated much attention had he not exploded for five sacks in Arizona's Week 13 win over the New York Giants. After spending much of his time with the Cardinals playing out of position and making a minimal impact at best, Reddick finally found success as an edge defender in his fourth and final season with the team that spent the 13th overall pick on him in the 2017 draft.
The production came well after Arizona had already decided to decline Reddick's fifth-year option, and with the Cardinals lacking cap space in the spring, Reddick walked to Carolina. Burns believes Reddick is poised to pick up where he left off and expects his new teammate's presence will make him a better player in his third professional season.
"I already know he's gonna push me," Burns said. "So, having him on the other side of me -- he's gets a sack, he's gonna push me and make me want to get a sack. I can already tell our competitive nature is going to come out. It's going to be a sack competition. I'm going to try and beat him every game and he already knows that."
As coaches love to remind the rest of the sports world, competition breeds success. Burns is more than open to the idea of Reddick driving him to reach new heights in Carolina.
After consecutive 5-11 seasons, the Panthers are striving for success that will earn them recognition in their second season under Matt Rhule. If Burns and Reddick follow through on the younger rusher's predictions, the football world won't overlook the Panthers for much longer.