NFL Teams Reportedly Have Real Interest In DJ Burns As An Offensive Tackle If He Doesn’t Make It In The NBA

DJ Burns NC State
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Even though DJ Burns is the NCAA Tournament’s breakout star, both his impending Final Four opponent Zach Edey and UConn’s Donovan Clingan are well north of seven feet tall, and for that reason among many others, they’re the remaining big men who have a real potential for thriving in the NBA.

Not to write off any NBA ambitions of Burns’ just yet, because after all, he’s led the 11th-seeded Wolfpack this far. It just seems less likely that a young man who’s 6-foot-9 and 275 pounds with Burns’ style of play can excel at the highest level of basketball.

However, if Burns could pack on a little extra weight to those enviable measurables, suddenly his frame is more or less the prototype to play offensive tackle.

This isn’t an April Fools’ Day prank. Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy posted about the very real interest among NFL personnel folks in Burns’ prospects to play in the trenches.

Beyond the physical tools and athleticism Burns obviously has in spades, you could see how boxing out, fighting for leverage in the paint and physicality on the court could translate to the football field. NFL Media’s Peter Schrager independently called around the NFL to gauge whether the buzz about Burns is real. It would seem it is, indeed, genuine.

Combine all that with this notion put out by reputable NFL reporter Albert Breer of The MMQB, and we have ourselves some building steam that Burns could make the transition to football.

Last week, Burns hopped on The Rich Eisen Show for an interview in which he revealed that he played tight end and defensive end in middle school. However, he focused on basketball exclusively once he got his first scholarship offer in eighth grade, when a growth spurt shot him up from 6’2″ to 6’8″.

It sounds like basketball is Burns’ primary focus, and when it comes to what Breer stated specifically, I have to imagine the appeal of a fully-guaranteed contract in the NBA is alluring. Transitioning to an entirely different sport would be a big leap for Burns, especially with how violent and physical football is. Not that he doesn’t have any prior experience and is going in totally blind, but he’s a damn good basketball player who seems likely to exhaust that avenue before exploring a move to the gridiron.

On paper, would I love to see Burns in the NFL? Most definitely. The NBA regular season is way too long. Burns would be relegated to second-unit duties in all likelihood. While I doubt Burns will take up any offers to play football, ex-basketball players have had success in that transition before, like tight ends Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham to name only a couple who come to mind right away. Burns should at least hear out NFL executives if he gets some calls.

Just when you think his exploding stardom can’t get any bigger, Burns is getting NFL hype. What a few weeks it’s been for the 23-year-old phenom.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock