As March turns to April and the 2022 NFL Draft sharpens into focus, rumors regarding the top prospects will come through thick and fast. According to Pro Football Network Draft Analyst Tony Pauline, one such rumor centers around Tyler Linderbaum and Treylon Burks. Once considered top-15 prospects, both could fall out of Round 1 at the end of the month.
2022 NFL Draft Rumors: Tyler Linderbaum, Treylon Burks falling down boards?
Speaking during the March 29 episode of Draft Insiders (which you can catch every Tuesday night at 8 PM ET on PFN’s YouTube Channel), Pauline addressed rumors that both highly regarded NFL Draft prospects could find themselves slipping down draft boards once Roger Goodell puts the Jacksonville Jaguars on the clock in Las Vegas.
“Tyler Linderbaum is a guy who a lot of people thought could go in the top 10,” Pauline told PFN Analyst Trey Wingo. “There’s a real possibility that Linderbaum falls out of the first round. Burks, who people were talking about as a top-15 pick, might eventually fall out of the first round.”
In some respects, the news regarding Linderbaum isn’t surprising just based on perceived positional value alone. You would think the NFL would have learned their mistake just one year removed from allowing Creed Humphrey to slide out of the first round. Humphrey earned himself a spot on the PFWA All-Rookie team this year.
Is the NFL affording Linderbaum the same treatment? Or is there something more to the NFL Draft rumors? Considered by some as the top wide receiver in the class, is Burks’ perceived sub-standard NFL Combine performance the only thing perpetuating a plummet out of the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft?
Linderbaum as a prospect
Iowa center Linderbaum is the top-ranked interior offensive lineman on the Pro Football Network Top 300 Big Board. He’s an exceptional athlete who excels in getting to the second level in the run game. Meanwhile, he’s also demonstrated that he can overcome concerns about being relatively undersized by utilizing an innate understanding of leverage.
That comes from his high school wrestling experience. Linderbaum’s ability to use his opponent’s weight against them to succeed was famously demonstrated against now NFL first-team All-Pro offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs. With impressive footwork, football intelligence, and hand placement, Linderbaum has been described as one of the cleanest and safest prospects in the class. So, why are there rumors that he’s slipping down NFL Draft boards?
“Linderbaum is slowly falling for a couple of reasons,” Pauline asserts. “No. 1: I’ve said time and time again, he’s not a power lineman. He’s not someone who just drives opponents off the ball. He’s more of a zone blocker.”
Pauline also points to some concerns around his NFL Combine testing, or lack thereof. “He shows up at the Combine, and his arms are 31”. There are questions about his strength and power. How does a guy with 31″ arms who isn’t very strong handle the Jordan Davis‘ of the world when they get inside your body?”
Burks as a prospect
Even before these NFL Draft rumors, Arkansas wide receiver Burks was a somewhat polarizing prospect. Beloved by fantasy football analysts, scouts have been more tempered in their exclamations about the big-bodied pass catcher. However, he still is a top-five wide receiver on the Pro Football Network Top 300 Big Board.
Burks’ appeal comes from a versatile skill set that was utilized in multiple ways at the college level. At 6’3″ and 225 pounds, he’s been used as a looming pass catcher on the boundary. However, his athleticism relative to his size has also allowed him to be used out of the backfield for Arkansas. Furthermore, Burks has demonstrated the ability to add yardage after the catch.
Calling those “highlight plays,” Pauline expands on why Burks could potentially fall down draft boards. “When you watch his game, he’s very rough around the edges. Poor route runner, very undisciplined with his routes. Not very fast. Goes to the Combine and can’t break a 4.5, and doesn’t look sharp running routes. He’s a very unpolished receiver.
“And the fact is, we’ve seen it time and time again. These bigger-bodied receivers who went up for the contested throws every Saturday tend to fall in the draft. Because you have to be able to separate at the next level, separate through your route running and separate through your speed. Burks, right now, doesn’t have any of that.”
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