He went 1-for-2 on isolated matchups.
After Thursday's session, Burns detailed his work against Brown, including Brown's goal-line touchdown on a counter move and Burns' pass breakup on a deep ball attempt to Brown.
Burns showed his recovery speed on the deep ball. He saw Brown streaking, so "I had to open up and run" to cover the post. He dove into the passing lane to knock the ball away.
Early in practice, however, he wasn't so lucky.
"He got me," Burns said. "I had bit on the slant. He went back out. He scored on me."
Brown, who returned to Pittsburgh late this week after the Dancing with the Stars finale, had faked inside, then flared toward the corner of the end zone.
On the deep ball, Burns said he could have intercepted the pass and taken it the other way if he made a move earlier. Ben Roethlisberger missed Thursday's session, so backups Landry Jones and Bruce Gradkowski were throwing the ball most of the time. The ball was a little underthrown, but Burns made an aggressive play on it.
Burns said he had watched enough film to know Brown's speed was no joke, so he didn't underestimate it.
"You can't panic," Burns said about covering a top-flight receiver like Brown. "You always have to stay cool no matter what situation you're in. He came up on me fast. I just have to trust my eyes, trust my training. To be out here covering him, it helps my level of game rise up."
Burns, the 25th overall pick in last month's draft, played press man coverage at Miami to utilize his height (6-foot) and long arms. The Steelers can use him in press, but the construction of the defense requires him to play zone coverage and hold his backpedal longer downfield.
The style of play suits Burns, he said, adding the game isn't too fast for him.
"I'm getting adjusted to it," Burns said. "Now I'm learning technique, getting the scheme down, and now I have to master my craft."
Oh yeah, Burns wants to earn a starting job.
"I just want to be the best I can be," Burns said. "I want to start. That's what I'm working toward. I want to be the best in my class."