NFL Teams Eyeing NC State’s D.J. Burns?

APRIL 4: It appears Burns will not be open to following up his NCAA Tournament surge with a pivot to the NFL. When asked (via the Associated Press) if he had any interest in a football career following his hoops season, the NC State big replied, “Zero.” Wolfpack coach Kevin Keatts said no NFL team has contacted him about Burns.

APRIL 1: D.J. Burns Jr. has become a household name during March Madness, guiding 11-seed NC State to the Final Four. This has led to some speculation about his chances of turning pro…but probably not in the sport you’re thinking (hint, hint: you’re not on

On Friday night, former NFL scout Jim Nagy noted how the 6-foot-9, 275-pound basketball player has the size, athleticism, and footwork of an NFL offensive lineman. Well, after hearing from an NFL general manager, assistant manager, and college director, Nagy is now saying that league interest in Burns “is real.” FOX Sport’s Peter Schrager is hearing similar things, noting that Burns would get a “big turnout” (and, potentially, money as a UDFA) if he holds a pro day once March Madness has concluded.

Even if Burns’ height is a bit exaggerated (Schrager estimates that the NC State big man is actually 6-foot-7), he would still rank among the tallest players in the NFL. Dan Skipper currently tops the league at 6-foot-9, followed by a handful of players (notably Trent Brown) at 6-foot-8.

There have been a handful of college basketball players who have taken their talents from the court to the gridiron, and football experience hasn’t been considered a prerequisite for these developmental rooks. Generally, the basketball-player-turned-football-player mold has produced tight ends, a group that famously includes Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, and Jimmy Graham.

The transition to offensive line is especially rare. Wayne Moore had the most success with the switch, but that was more than 50 years ago. Around the same time, former Indiana basketball center Ken Johnson attempted to play offensive line in the NFL before switching to the defensive side of the ball, where he got into 79 games.

Burns hasn’t attracted much NBA hype. If he sticks with basketball, he’d likely have to settle for a G-League gig or overseas job. If he believes his chances of a basketball career are slim, there’s at least a chance he considers a future in football.

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