By Adam Aniba
During this year's NFL Combine, the wide receivers registered some of the fastest forty times in recent memory. Although Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks didn't put up a blazing forty time, his ability to gash a defense in multiple ways was evident during his time in the SEC. His best performance in '21 came against Alabama, in which he hauled in 8 rec for 179 yards and a 1 touchdown, finishing a close loss (42-35) with 22.4 yard per catch average. Burks gave the Crimson Tide defensive coordinators fits all game.
Burks skillset has been compared to Titans AJ Brown and with 49'ers Deebo Samuel. Like Samuels, Burks was also used occasionally in the run game and KR/PR game. Although that might be lofty company, Burks displayed his explosiveness in combine drills. During the combine presser, Burks was asked about the Deebo comparisons.
"The way that he plays running back, plays inside, plays outside, multi player, person, athlete. So I try to mimic my game after him."
The forty yard dash is always a heavy focus for receivers during the NFL Combine, but the 3-cone drill is arguably more important. The 3-cone drill, displays how fast a player can change direction, while accelerating. In comparison, Burks registered a time of 7.28 seconds vs Samuel who clocked a 7.03 second time.
Burks is a prospect who tends to get lost amongst the speedsters in this draft class. In the right system, Burks could emerge as one of the most productive receivers and offensive weapons in this class.
6'2" 225 lbs | WR | Arkansas
Draft Proj 1st Rd Top 25
Career (40 games) 178 rec 3,140 yards & 22 tds 17.6 per rec
*Rushing-38 att 222 yds 1 td w/ 5.8 yrd avg
'21 (12 games ) 82 rec for 1,474 yards & 8 tds 18.0 per rec
Burks attended Warren HS in Arkansas as a 4-star recruit, gaining the reputation as one of the toughest receivers in the nation. During Burk's sophomore year, he played with injured right hand that required a cast and was still extremely effective.
Not only did Burks gain the respect of his teammates and opponents, he registered 285 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns playing with one hand. The Warren HS standout was ranked as the #1 recruit in the state of Arkansas. Burks received multiple offers from elite programs such as FSU, Michigan and Clemson, but opted to stay home and play for Arkansas.
As a true freshman in '19, the Razorbacks receiver led the team in receiving yards with 475 yds and a 16.4 ypc avg. He added to his versatility as a freshman, returning 10 kicks for 226 yds with a 22.6 return avg and 10 punt returns for 120 yards with a 10.8 return avg. As a result, Burks was named to the All SEC Freshman Team.
In '20, Burks once again led the team in receiving yards (51 rec 820 yds) and continued to display his big play ability with a 16.1 yard per catch average.
Burks had his best statistical output in 2021, setting an school record with six 110-yard rec games on the way to being named 1st-Team All-SEC. Burks season to season ascension, made skipping his senior season a no brainer with his tock at an all time high.
Burks opted out of the bowl game to focus his efforts on the NFL Draft and train for the combine. Burks checked off the prefered measurements boxes for the position, checking in at 6'2" 225 lbs with 33.5" arms (#3 in WR group) and 79 1/8" wingspan (#1 in WR group). It was reported that Burks also had some of the biggest hands in the group requiring 4X size gloves (9 7/8" hands)
The knock on Burks was his 4.55 second forty yard dash time and his response to SEC Country anchor Jourdan Black, might be the best post combine sound bite of the year.
"I just encourage anyone to watch the film and see if anyone has caught me yet".
His short area quickness was most evident in the 3-cone drill, registering a 7.28 second time. His 10 yard split time of 1.57 seconds, further solidified the type of explosion Burks brings to an offense.
Burks was on the Biletnikoff and Maxwell watch list with the top receivers in the nation in '21. Arkansas coaches found innovative ways to utilize Burks, lining him up as an outside receiver, in the slot and the backfield. His primary task in the Razorbacks offense was to attack holes in zone coverage and he was extremely effective in that role. Burks displays solid change of direction ability, but also the strength to out muscle defenders which will be imperative on the next level..
Versatility to play X, Z, Slot and lineup in the backfield in sub-packages
Utilizes his solid frame like a power forward, boxing out defenders to make receptions in traffic
Thrives in 50/50 jump ball situations
Hard to bring down after initial contact, reliable YAC receiver
Capable of taking over games and was the go to option for ARK every season
Although limited opportunities, offers big play capability as a KR/PR
Limited routes run at ARK (slight concern)
Tendency to round of routes
Habit of chest catching on deep receptions at times, will lead to broken up passes on the next level (minimal concern with NFL coaching)
Displayed occasional concentration lapses when not involved in the play
Get off can be a bit labored and needs to work on his release
Should be a better blocker for a prospect his size
Burks ability to line up in multiple spots and adjust on the fly might be his best attributes. His ability to pluck the ball out of the air, especially during underthrown/overthrown passes stood out on film with highlight-reel receptions.
Next to his less than desirable forty time, his 33" vertical leap is also a concern for some evaluators projecting him as a WR1 on the next level. His overall 2021 film should ease those concerns and Burks ability to take over games is evident as a standout amongst SEC receivers.
As with many prospects, their shortcomings are put under a microscope during the pre-draft evaluation process. In Burks, a team will gets a receiver that can be deployed in mesh concepts, screens, comebacks, slants and crossing routes.
Although Burks isn't viewed as a deep threat based on his timed speed, his ability to draw contact on go-routes might be the best in this class. Arkansas coaches utilized Burks in creative ways, but at the same time, limited him in their passing game by not utilizing more route tree concepts.
Burks wasn't given the opportunity to learn many routes, but his his knack for finding weakness' in coverage is uncanny. Innovative NFL passing games will covet his ability to quickly adapt as a moveable chess piece in any scheme.
As a top 25 prospect, Burks is a plug & play slot receiver, who can also contribute on special teams as a returner. Although the Deebo comparison might be premature, Burks has all the tools to have the same type of success.
*Games Watched- 9/4/21 vs RICE, 9/11 vs UT, 9/18 vs GASO, 9/25 vs TEX A&M, 10/2 UGA, 10/9 vs MISS, 10/16 vs AUB, 10/23 UAPB, 11/6 MISS ST, 11/13 vs LSU, 11/20 vs ALA and 11/26 vs MIZ
*Team Fits- WAS, PHI, CLEV, GB, PHI, SF, ATL, ARZ and TENN
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