In our Scouting Reports, we will give you a quick debrief to get you the information you need to know. We’ll also take it a step further and provide an in-depth review showing off examples of what we like, and what we don’t. Included is a date from the initial scouting report, this is so new notes can be added as the year goes on. Those new notes will be dated as well. With that, welcome to the Treylon Burks scouting report!
Treylon Burks had a huge 2020 season, putting him on the radar for many people to watch. When he followed it up with his monster 2021 season, including very productive games against some of the top teams in the country, it solidified him as a top-tier receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft. Let’s take a look why.
Details: Treylon Burks | WR | Arkansas #16
DOB: 03.23.2000 | 21 years old
H/W: 6’3” | 225 lbs
NFL Draft Projection:
Mid 1st to Mid 2nd Round Pick – Burks has the highest ceiling in this draft class due to his rare physical gifts and insane athletic ability. However, he’s not quite as NFL-ready as a few of the other players in this class. While there are a few teams projected in the mid-late 1st round who could use a guy in the mold of Burks, his lack of refinement – and consequently lower floor – could scare teams from using a precious 1st round pick on him.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Projection – 1QB:
Top 8 pick – After another special season with Arkansas, producing like one would expect an NFL-level-talent to, Burks has been one of the largest risers of the 2021 CFB season. With his name on many dynasty owners lips already as a potential for WR1, he could certainly be in line for a Top 3 pick. However, if there’s an unexpected tumble in the NFL Draft, or if other players hit the landing spot jackpot, Burks could see a slight fantasy tumble as well. We saw this recently with A.J. Brown in 2019, who typically went in the 1.06-1.08 range…I think that’s probably Burks’ floor as well, though again with Top 3 upside.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Projection – Superflex/2QB:
Top 12 pick – Given the positional scarcity and typically high floor, QBs tend to make a run up draft boards in 2QB and SF leagues. This happens even if the player is seen as lesser talents or as being in a less favorable situation. I predict three QBs end-up going very high in 2QB/SF leagues, and a 4th in the mid/late 1st range, which pushes a normally top 8 player out to a possible Top 12 pick. As I mentioned in the 1QB draft projection above, it’s entirely possible Burks could be taken extremely early – and that still applies to 2QB/SF leagues – but his absolute floor winds up around that 1.08-1.12 range.
Treylon Burks is a monster. Physically, he’s everything you want in a receiver. He’s got height (6′ 3″), bulk (225+lbs), an albatross-like wingspan, and hands so big they need custom sized gloves (5XL).
That’s not all. To go with phenomenal size, Burks also shows to have special athleticism. He’s got horsepower like a hemi, and muscle to go with it. Because of that, he’s used in a multitude of ways, some of which is unique for a guy his size.
I like to think of Burks at this stage in his development as a two-trick pony.
First trick, get him the ball in space on a screen and he can do tremendous damage. With his speed, vision, and ability to navigate traffic, he can rack up the yards-after-catch (YAC) like few others his size. This makes him extremely dangerous on drags, screens, and the like.
Next, on vertical routes. He uses his size, bulk, length, speed, and body control extremely well at the catch point. He can beat a DB on a go route with pure speed (and maybe a subtle push-off here or there), he’s got great body control to turn back and attack a back-shoulder fade, or can just go up and get a post with the best of ’em.
Other than that, he’s a bit unrefined, a work in progress.
He couldn’t consistently beat a jam. Despite his hands, he occasionally lets the ball in too close to his body when he should be attacking it. And, though fast, he doesn’t have great burst and can be slow coming out of his breaks.
More than anything else, he’s got to clean up his routes. He signals his intentions by, for example, popping up before his break…this just won’t fly on Sundays.
Burks can do a lot of damage, even at the NFL level, simply due to his rare physical and athletic gifts. This can keep his value high in fantasy, however, it could take a year or two of work and refinement before he could work his way into the top echelon of NFL receivers.
Treylon Burks has been one of, if not the hottest name at receiver this year. Devy value has been shooting through the roof with each passing 100+ yard 2td game. The name is being thrown around dynasty leagues as a potential early draft pick.
What is it that allowed Burks to have so many great games, and to be such a hot prospect? Let’s take a look!
What’s most readily apparent when watching Burks is that his athleticism is above-and-beyond many of the upper echelon CFB talent. Take this play against Alabama, for example.
In the video below, Burks is at the top of the screen, the defender – Josh Jobe (CB #28) – is in man coverage shaded inside. Burks hits him with a split release, gets shoved around by Jobe a bit, and runs a fade outside.
The throw is back-shoulder, and Burks does a great job to throw-by the DB at the top of the route, getting wide open at the catch point. The ‘Bama deep safety gets too aggressive in his pursuit, leaving the inside lane open.
From here, it’s the Treylon Burks Show. Using his elite speed (reportedly clocked at 22.6mph), Burks beats every defender on his way to the endzone.
Burks’ athleticism is put on display in a number of ways. More than once, he’s been able to take a simple route designed to get him in space – a screen for example – and turn it into a big play.
Here we see just that, a simple screen to the flat from the backfield. Burks is able to accelerate while turning himself north/south, burning the defender down the sideline for a key touchdown.
We see a lot of this littered throughout Burks’ games. Simple routes; screens, drags, flats, etc. designed to get him the ball and give him space to work. He’s very good navigating and has OK acceleration, but his speed is truly top notch. This makes him dangerous from anywhere.
Don’t let his YAC ability fool you though, Burks isn’t just a YAC guy. Loads of his production come from chunk plays; one-on-one deep ball opportunities where he can use his speed, physicality, body control, and/or length to beat his man.
We’re going to see back-to-back plays against Ole Miss, nearly identical to each other, side-by-side below. It’s astonishing how similar they look.
In both plays Burks is running a simple fade against a Cover 3 look. The DB is playing off coverage so Burks gets a free release, and with the DB attempting to stay on top of the route, it’s unlikely that Burks is going to beat him with speed.
Knowing this, Burks throttles down when the throw comes his way. Staying underneath, he uses his body to shield the defender from making a play, and uses his length to high-point the ball. In both, Burks shows outstanding body control and a massive catch radius. The DB didn’t stand a chance.
It’s worth pointing out how Burks played Cover 3 different from the first video, when he was going against man coverage. When manned up, and the DB stayed hip-to-hip, Burks instead used a throw-by technique to get clear at the catch point.
Remember that violent throw-by in the first video? It was not uncommon to see Burks downfield get…handsy.
Let’s take a look at the next play, this one going against Myles Jones (CB #0). Jones may not be an elite cover corner, though it’s possible he gets drafted in the mid-late rounds [if only because of his size (6’4″)].
Here, that size means nothing as Burks clearly gets a step on Jones. Burks hits him with a split release before taking the outside. Jones – like Jobe in the ‘Bama clip – is able to get hands on, however doesn’t have the strength to impact Burks’ route.
It doesn’t take long for Burks to get a step on the DB purely with his speed. The throw goes up, and when Burks comes back on the screen he’s clearly got a few steps on the DB. What does this have to do with getting handsy?…just watch.
I don’t think he needed to risk that push-off given that he already had a step, and could have separated even more. However, I’m just a guy, there was no laundry, and Burks scored a touchdown…so take that however you want.
Is it reasonable to expect some OPI calls in his near future? Sure. Is that something that should deter a team or owner from drafting Burks? Certainly not. Especially with the type of body control, extension and catch radius we see in our next clip.
Here, Burks lines up at the bottom of a tight stack against Cover 4. It looks like this is intended to be a dig/post – a great Cover 4 beater – that almost looks like Burks turns into a seam or skinny post instead. Either way, the design falls apart quickly as the RB misses his block and pressure gets home.
Burks must see the QB in trouble and plays some backyard ball, cutting to the sideline for an opportunity to [nearly] make an insane catch.
Alright, I think we’ve established that he’s pretty dang good at the catch point. What are the downsides?
Very rarely, he will not attack the ball at the catch point. Again, it’s not very common, but in the four games I watched it was the direct cause of two separate pass deflections on balls which otherwise could have been caught.
Here’s an example, another play from the A&M game. This time, a quick slant from the slot. Antonio Johnson (DB #27) – an outstanding slot defender – identifies the route and breaks on it.
Burks is able to box out Johnson with his frame, providing an opportunity to attack the ball, secure it, and drive forward for a first down. However, Burks hands are late, and he can’t attack the ball in the air.
Instead, because his hands are late, he has to try to catch it too close to his body, giving Johnson an opportunity to get his hand in there and break it up.
I’ll stress again, two pass break-ups in four games isn’t something to be immediately concerned with, but certainly worth watching.
So, what else creates cause for concern? Well, it seems to me Burks was schemed in such a way that he wasn’t required to be a good route runner.
Burks was often used as the motion man, in the slot, or otherwise lined up off the line of scrimmage. Because of what I saw when he did get jammed, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t fully trust him against press coverage.
Additionally, there was a lack of diversity in his route tree. This could be on Arkansas more than on Burks, though with the information available, it’s tough to say for sure.
I get it…teams naturally look for ways to create touches for their top guys. Giving them extra space in aligning off the LOS, or paring down the route tree, or even using fakes and “trickeration” (that’s not a word…), all in an effort to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers.
I don’t fault Arkansas for wanting to give Burks advantages to help get him the ball. However, I do see that other receivers who are set to come out, or have come out in recent years weren’t treated with kid gloves, yet still dominated.
Here’s an example of a simple, yet creative and effective way he had opportunities manufactured. It’s just a simple fake block/double move. Burks really sells the block before finding grass and getting depth.
For what little Burks had to do here, he did good. This is a solid fake by Burks, and good job working to grass away from the safety. Though it did look like he wanted to continue upfield instead of settling into the empty space…the throw forced him to hold back.
The reason the manufactured touches are concerning to me is that it may be a sign of something bigger…something which won’t play as well at the next level.
I found it noteworthy that Burks didn’t consistently get great separation. That is, aside from vertical or crossing routes where he can use his speed, or plays where he’s schemed open like what we’ve seen so far.
From what I’ve seen, this lack of separation boils down to three things.
First, despite his size and physicality, he doesn’t yet have the technique to avoid a jam, and his only hope of getting off a jam is through raw physicality. We saw this in the first video where Jobe shoves him around at the snap.
Second, while he typically snaps down well on the occasional stop or in-route, he doesn’t have the short-area quickness to burst out of his routes and create separation. He needs a couple steps to build up to his top speed, and those first steps out of a break – if not explosive – can allow DBs to close the gap.
Finally, and most important for the next level, he has indicators in his stem which tip off when he’s going to break. In the video below, Burks bursts forward ~4 yards into his route before popping almost straight up a couple yards before snapping down.
I saw this a handful of times while watching, so you can bet NFL DBs will see this too. The good DBs get paid by pouncing on indicators like this.
So what’s my take? Treylon Burks is an outstanding freak of an athlete. He’s a great receiver too, and can be an elite one with hard work and time.
Any team who already has a great receiver, someone who can be a mentor and can take some of the heat off, would be an ideal landing spot for Burks. Kansas City, for example.
Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and obviously Andy Reid would all be extremely beneficial in helping to mold Burks into a great receiver. Having Patrick Mahomes to sling the ball couldn’t hurt either.
Depending on where Burks does land, don’t be disappointed if he doesn’t produce monstrous stats immediately. Or, more likely, don’t be surprised if he’s initially an inconsistent, boom or bust type player.
If the team who drafts him is willing to play to his strengths initially, allowing him to take a year or two to refine his routes, watch out…Burks’ ceiling is remarkably high.
What’s your take on Treylon Burks? For many he’s the top receiver in the class, would you agree? Drop a comment in the comment box below to let us know your thoughts!
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That guy who wraps up the #1 seed by week 13, dominates the points scored column, and gets blown out by the #8 seed in the first round of playoffs…annually. That’s Ben.
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