Treylon Burks - WR - Arkansas
Welcome to the rookie profile for Treylon Burks. Incredible size/speed combination has been something that has always been sought after in the NFL. Every team is looking for the next Calvin Johnson. And while we may never see another Calvin Johnson, we’ve gotten close with the likes of Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas, and more recently DK Metcalf. Treylon Burks profiles as one of those players with the coveted size/speed combination that you just can’t teach.
Height: 6′ 2″
Weight: 225 lbs
40-yard dash: 4.55s
3-cone drill: 7.28s
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vertical Jump: 33″
Broad Jump: 122″
Bench Press: DNP
Treylon Burks was the top-ranked wide receiver from the state of Arkansas and a 4-star recruit. From the get-go, scouts recognized his size and athleticism, but it was obvious his talent was raw and he ended his high school senior year prematurely with an ACL tear. So, it’s not surprising that the version of Burks we know of today flew relatively under the radar in recruiting circuits. Regardless, Burks came right out of the gates with a breakout season, leading the Razorbacks in receiving yards as a true freshman. He was named to the 2nd team All-SEC as a return specialist and awarded SEC All-Freshman Team honors.
As a sophomore, Burks picked up right where he left off in 2018 and continued to improve his sophomore season; with a little help due to new head coach Sam Pittman replacing Chad Morris. He led the team in receptions, receiving yards, and total touchdowns (51-820-7), despite only appearing in 9 games. By this time Burks was on every scout’s radar. He continued to impress his junior season, becoming only the 4th player in Arkansas history to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards and again leading the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. He was awarded First-team All-SEC honors and skipped Arkansas’ bowl game, declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft.
To start, Treylon Burks has a size/speed combination that you just can’t teach. He has natural athleticism and has had time to grow and develop into his stature at Arkansas. He’s great at using his size and speed to box out defenders or go up over the top for contested catches. Additionally, he has superb body control, consistently making acrobatic catches over the middle or on the sideline. For his size, he is a smooth route running that naturally creates separation with fluid breaks. And, he is deceptively fast in the open field, consistently showing the ability to burn defenders downfield for explosive plays.
While Burks prototypes as an X wide receiver, he took a majority of his snaps out of the slot and worked out of the backfield often during his collegiate career. He showed the versatility to lineup successfully all over the field, displaying his ability to create yards on jet sweeps, traditional hand-offs, or after the catch on plays designed to get the ball to him in space. Additionally, Burks is a great teammate and gives high effort on blocking plays, when the ball isn’t in his hands.
As one of the top prospects in this draft, finding shortcomings in his game can be difficult. But, no prospect is perfect, and that applies to Treylon Burks as well. There are examples of occasional concentration drops, specifically in 2020. It looks like he worked on this aspect and cleaned a lot of it up in 2021, but this is still an area for improvement. And, the Razorbacks’ offense used Burks in an untraditional way a majority of the time. This led to a lack of sample size of Burks’ route tree. It’s not a massive concern, because he showed the tools (quick hips, fluid motions, solid inside/outside game)on tape to be a successful route runner, but it is still something that needs to be mentioned.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Mid/ Late Round 1
Treylon Burks has a strong case to be the first wide receiver off the board come NFL Draft Day. But this is a deep wide receiver class with a couple of candidates for that #1 spot. Not to mention, there is a lot of defensive talent in this year’s draft that could push skill position players a bit further down in the first. Burks can walk in day one and be a legitimate X/prototypical alpha wide receiver with the versatility to line up wherever truly needed. Burks would be a great start to a top-end wide receiver core for the Las Vegas Raiders, Cleveland Browns, or New England Patriots or a great complimentary piece to an already existing young core for the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, or Miami Dolphins.
Post Draft Analysis
Tennessee Titans- Round 1, Pick 18
The Tennessee Titans couldn’t get a deal done with star wide receiver AJ Brown this offseason. So, they trade him to another wide receiver needy team in the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the number 18 overall pick. With the said pick, the Titans replace AJ Brown with Treylon Burks, a big and physical slot wide receiver with a starking resemblance in archetype to AJ Brown. In theory, the switch makes perfect sense for the Titans who surely wanted to get a deal done with Brown, but took the next best option without impacting their gameplan overall. Despite the addition of Burks, the Titans are still in need of pass-catching difference makers. They also added Robert Woods in the offseason, but the former Rams wide receiver is already over 30 and on a hefty contract through 2025. On the bright side, Burks has a clear path to be the potential WR1 for the offense right out of the gates. On the not-so-bright side, the Titans’ passing offense didn’t necessarily get better on draft day.
The Titans passed at the second-lowest rate in 2021, and doesn’t look like that is going to change in the upcoming season. The team wants to rely on the run and their defense, and rightfully so with a good offensive line and Derrick Henry to carry the load. Regardless, Burks has a clear path to making an immediate impact and putting up fantasy numbers as he should be stepping into AJ Brown’s previous role in this offense. They have Ryan Tannehill as a consistent veteran presence, which should help Burks in year one. Burks will also have the opportunity to learn from a veteran presence in Robert Woods this offseason. Burks is clearly a top-tier wide receiver in this draft class and while it’s difficult to thrust a rookie wide receiver into a role once held by AJ Brown and expect the same production, he is in a prime spot for early production and future development. He maintained his case for the wide receiver one in this class and will be a top half of the first-round selection in rookie drafts. In redraft, Burks is not a bad dart throw in the middle to late rounds of drafts. There have been quite a few rookie wide receiver producers in the past couple of years. While this may not be the year to bet on it, Burks has all the opportunities to be a contributor right away.
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Image Credit: Gary Cosby Jr. – USA TODAY Sports