Jermaine Burton - WR - Alabama

While Jermaine Burton played a full four seasons in college and was not an early declare, he did have the fortune to play for two different CFP Championship Contending Teams. He played two seasons with Kirby Smart in Athens, Georgia, and then transferred to play two additional seasons with Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The transfer didn’t quite go as planned in year one, but year 2 might have had some redeeming qualities.

Measurables

Height: 6′ 0″

Weight: 196 lbs

Age: 23

40-yard dash: 4.45s

3-cone drill: DNP

20-yard shuttle: DNP

Vertical Jump: 38.5″

Broad Jump: 11’1″

Bench Press: DNP

*age is at the start of player’s rookie year

College Stats

Receiving & Rushing Table
ReceivingRushingScrimmage
YearSchoolConfClassPosGRecYdsAvgTDAttYdsAvgTDPlaysYdsAvgTD
*2020GeorgiaSECFRWR102740415.0345012.503145414.63
*2021GeorgiaSECSOWR142649719.150002649719.15
*2022AlabamaSECJR134067716.970004067716.97
*2023AlabamaSECSRWR133979820.580003979820.58
CareerOverall132237618.02345012.50136242617.823
Georgia5390117.0845012.505795116.78
Alabama79147518.71500079147518.715
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 4/9/2024.

Notable Headlines

Jermaine Burton started his career off as a top 20 wide receiver in his recruiting class heading to Athens, Georgia to play for Kirby Smart at the University of Georgia. He contributed right away as a freshman with over 400 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. That season, Burton was third on the team in receiving yards behind Kearis Jackson (514) and George Pickens (513). The following season the Bulldogs spread the ball pretty evenly between Burton, Ladd McConkey, and Adonai Mitchell. Bowers led the way, but the three wide receivers mentioned were between 426 and 497 receiving yards with Burton leading the charge.

Burton looked to get out of a run-heavy offense that was dominated by Brock Bowers and transferred to play for Nick Saban at the University of Alabama. Fresh off a National Championship win with the Bulldogs, he went right to Alabama with ambitions of a Championship as well. In his first season with the Crimson Tide, he led the team in receiving yards and hit career highs nearly across the board. But, while statistically a solid season, it fell a bit short of offseason expectations when he transferred to a high-powered passing offense being led by future #1 overall pick, Bryce Young.

Despite the team turning into a more run-heavy team following Young’s departure with quite a bit of quarterback controversy early on, Burton thrived. He bounced back in a big way, not just on tape but statistically as well. A lot of people were likely soured by his first year at Alabama, so it took some time for analysts to come back around on him for what he showed as a Senior. Some off-field concerns arose, namely his run-in with a fan on Tennessee’s field when students rushed the field. Interviews will be a key component of how the NFL views Burton and his fit for their team.

Scouting Report

Positives

Jermaine Burton is a natural hands catcher who does a good job of utilizing his length to catch outside of his body. He pairs that with very good body control to create some impressive acrobatic catches on the sideline. Additionally, despite his numbers, he provides a plus ability to create after the catch when given the opportunity. 

Burton is an explosive route runner with a quick release off the line of scrimmage. He shows impressive breaks and a good utilization of leverage to keep DBs off balance. Speed is a factor that allows him to be an effective deep threat paired with good ball-tracking abilities. But he has more than just speed, he throttles that speed well in both situations after the catch and to deceive DBs in his route running. Plus a really impressive start/stop ability to gain additional separation.

Negatives

While Burton boasts an absurdly low drop rate, there were some catches in 2022 specifically that weren’t considered drops but that he should have come down with or double clutches here and there. That was cleaned up a lot in 2023 though. While he showed a lot of flashes as a route runner and explosiveness to separate, it could be inconsistent. Additionally, he has a leaner frame that plays into Burton’s lack of high-end play strength that more physical corners could take advantage of.

There are some off-the-field concerns with Burton as he’s had some instances such as the run-in with the fan on the field against Tennessee in 2022 previously mentioned. Additionally, there were reports that he managed to get himself in the doghouse with both Saban’s staff and Smart’s staff on and off throughout his tenures. Some effort concerns popped up here and there when the ball wasn’t going his way or when he needed to block for his teammates. Finally, his age as a fourth-year player is something to take note of as he’ll be 23 at the start of his rookie season.

Pre Draft Analysis

Expected Draft Capital- Round 2

Landing Spots

Jermaine Burton has a lot of experience playing for some of the best head coaches coaching for the best teams in all of college football. While it took some time to put it together, he did that in 2023. But that 2022 season led a lot of people to forget about Burton to the point that his draft capital has a chance to surprise a lot of people come April as everyone catches up to what he developed into in 2023. He just has to nail the interviews with these organizations, which might be a big ask. The Panthers are an obvious and popular landing spot because even though they added Diontae Johnson to their wide receiver core, there’s still a lot left to be desired. Burton could play immediately alongside Diontae Johnson and be an instant impact player for the team and Bryce Young.

Post Draft Analysis

Cincinnati Bengals – Round 3, Pick 16

Landing Spot

There was a lot of talk on draft night about Tee Higgins potentially getting moved as he requested a trade just weeks before the NFL Draft. But the Draft came and went and the Bengals even selected Jermaine Burton in the third round, which looks to be a Higgins insurance plan in case he is moved. But Burton is a talented wide receiver who likely only fell due to his off-the-field antics. He’s a legitimate threat to contribute right away as a deep threat and can continue to develop into a three-level threat. However, a lot of that is going to depend on the status of Higgins as the Bengals are still not close in contract negotiations. The Burton move gives the Bengals a bit more flexibility and adds a safety net for them to fall back on as there is a lot of unproven depth behind the Chase/Higgins duo.

Fantasy Impact

Burton’s fantasy outlook greatly hinges on what happens with Tee Higgins. If Higgins stays for 2024 and plays under the franchise tag, then Burton might be able to carve out a slot role on the team and make a small impact as a rookie. But then he’ll have an opportunity to earn the WR2 role in the offense in 2025 if the team can’t get a long-term deal in place with Higgins. But there’s also the possibility that Higgins is traded because the two sides can’t come together on a contract agreement. If that’s the case, Burton has a clear path to early playing time as the WR2 in this offense alongside Ja’Marr Chase who will command a ton of the coverage his way. And maybe Higgins and the Bengals find a long-term agreement and Burton is stuck as the WR3 at best. It’s a risky situation to navigate when looking to draft Burton.

For Redraft leagues, managers will have a pretty good idea about the Tee Higgins situation closer to draft time. If he’s on his way out, Burton is an intriguing late-round flier who could be a solid flex player to rely upon with limited upside alongside Chase as a rookie. If Higgins sticks around, then it’s safe to avoid Burton in those drafts. But for Dynasty, the risk could easily be worth the reward as the risk is baked into his ADP near the top of the 3rd round of rookie drafts. He’s a talented player with a solid chance at having a clear path to playing time on a pass-happy team.

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