After providing highlight-reel plays at the college football level, Treylon Burks has become something of a divisive 2022 NFL Draft prospect. Some suboptimal testing times have helped cultivate a particular narrative of his skill set not translating to the next level. As a result, the Arkansas WR’s stock seems to have soured. However, Burks’ scouting report showcases that the big-bodied pass catcher still has plenty to offer the NFL.
Treylon Burks NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Wide Receiver
- School: Arkansas
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 6’2″
- Weight: 225 pounds
- Wingspan: 79 1/8″
- Arm: 33 1/2″
- Hand: 9 7/8″
Treylon Burks Scouting Report
Although the Arkansas WR might have seen something of a dip in his stock during the pre-draft process, Burks’ scouting report still indicates a prospect who should hear his name called relatively high in the 2022 NFL Draft. In a deep wide receiver class, Burks possesses some alluring traits that should translate to the next level.
At 6’2″ and 225 pounds, Burks is the epitome of a big-bodied pass catcher. He has a very well-built frame that, at times, allows for an impressively physical brand of football. This is particularly apparent at the catch point. 50/50 balls often result in him making the catch as he outmuscles his opponent. The Arkansas WR is also able to use his physicality to manufacture yardage after the catch, proving a difficult proposition to take down in space.
Burks wins at the catch point with more than physicality alone, however. The Arkansas WR demonstrates excellent ball tracking and body control, giving him an advantage in these situations. His hands, while not measuring as large as expected, are strong and reliable. Meanwhile, his 33 1/2″ arms give him an excellent catch radius. He’s adept at plucking the ball out of the sky to make the highlight-reel catch.
For a player of his size, he is unexpectedly athletic
While not possessing lightning speed — as demonstrated at the NFL Combine — Burks does have the long speed to be able to pull away from defenders when he gets up a full head of steam. There are plenty of examples of tape where he takes short passes or even carries the ball out of the backfield and turns it into a big play.
In some respects, Burks’ play is similar to a bigger running back. It’s no surprise that he’s been able to have success carrying the ball out of the backfield. There’s time when the Arkansas WR demonstrates impressive burst. Burks also possesses a vicious stiff arm that helps him add further after-the-catch value.
Burks brings excellent versatility to the NFL. He’s aligned from the slot and out wide during his time at Arkansas. Furthermore, the ability to carry the ball out of the backfield adds another dimension to his usage. If he lands with the right team, Burks can be a dangerous weapon for an NFL offense.
Areas for improvement
Currently, Burks sits as the 27th overall prospect on the Pro Football Network Top 300 Big Board. While that puts him within first-round range, he’s also in danger of falling out of Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft. What is it about the Arkansas WR’s scouting report that is causing concern for his next-level projection?
There’s a level of inconsistency to Burks’ game. While the physicality that we see at the catch point is sometimes demonstrated as a blocker, it’s not always. For a bigger-bodied wide receiver, you’d like to see him routinely being an asset in this regard. He doesn’t always get his hands on his man when tasked with blocking.
Although there are some things to love about Burks as a route runner, including the intelligence to find holes in zone coverage and a burst out of his breaks, there’s also inconsistency here. The Arkansas WR doesn’t routinely break with suddenness and sharp cuts, too often rounding off at the top of the route.
At a time when the NFL is investing heavily in speedier wide receivers, Burks’ lack of explosive speed may be held against him. Additionally, while his college usage brings versatility, he needs to land with a creative offensive coordinator to maximize his efficiency and production at the next level.
Burks’ Player Profile
The word “unique” is often overused in football analysis, but Burks was anything but ordinary for Warren High School. A multi-year starter in several sports, he could have comfortably made a living in either basketball or baseball. However, Burks chose to put his athletic ability to stellar use on the football field.
Built differently even at a young age, Burks had the build of a linebacker combined with the speed and overall athletic ability of a wide receiver or running back. Inevitably, he saw time on both sides of the ball and special teams, but it was his offensive prowess that blew coaches and analysts away.
During his junior season, Burks secured 45 receptions for 1,090 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. In a mesmeric display of his offensive capability, he also contributed 936 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns on 114 carries. Burks helped lead Warren to the Arkansas 4A State Championship Game, although he couldn’t help secure consecutive championship titles.
247 Sports ranked Burks as the 16th wide receiver in the class, the top player in Arkansas, and he narrowly missed out on being a top-100 player in the 2019 recruiting class. The Arkansas native received offers from across the nation, including Clemson, FSU, LSU, Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Michigan. Yet, for Burks, there was truly no place like home, and he committed to Arkansas before an injury impacted senior season.
Burks’ career at Arkansas
Burks was a major recruiting coup for Arkansas. Unsurprisingly, he made an immediate impact as a true freshman, making nine starts in 11 appearances. His incredible versatility that was exhibited at Warren HS was put to good use in the SEC. During the 2019 season, Burks registered passing, receiving, and rushing snaps as Arkansas looked to get the ball into their playmaker’s hands in any way possible. Additionally, he saw time as a kick and punt returner.
As a true freshman, Burks led Arkansas with 475 receiving yards. His 16.4 yards per catch ranked second of all SEC freshmen, and he ranked second in receiving yards per game. Burks also logged the most return yardage for an Arkansas player since 2017, earning second-team All-SEC recognition for his special-teams ability to go with his All-SEC Freshman honors.
Although he didn’t register a touchdown in 2019, his play put the Razorbacks in a position to score on multiple occasions. In the season opener of his sophomore campaign, he snagged a touchdown and 102 receiving yards against Georgia.
It would be the first of four 100+ yard receiving games in 2020 despite the shortened season. Ole Miss, Texas A&M, and Missouri would all succumb to monster performances by the Arkansas wide receiver. Burks recorded his career-high in catches (11) against Ole Miss while torching Missouri to the tune of 206 yards, a career-high for single-game receiving yards.
Burks’ NFL Draft ascension
Despite missing one game due to injury, Burks finished 2020 with 820 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns at 16.1 yards per catch. He ranked third in the SEC for yards per game (91.1) and finished fifth in the conference for total receiving yards. More impressively, he was one of just two players in the FBS who registered 800+ receiving yards and 70+ rushing yards in 2020. The other? 2021 NFL Draft first-round selection Kadarius Toney.
As a result of his sophomore season, Burks entered the 2021 college campaign as a highly ranked NFL Draft prospect. After missing the final two weeks of preseason camp, his junior year got off to a slow start with meager production against Rice and Texas. However, he rebounded with consecutive 100+ yard games. There’d be four more 100+ yard games, including 179 yards and 2 touchdowns against Alabama.
Finishing the year with 1,216 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns, Burks’ NFL Draft stock was soaring, with multiple analysts declaring him the best receiver in the class. As the NFL Combine neared, however, reports suggested that the Arkansas WR was struggling compared to other receivers he was training alongside and didn’t “look as smooth or fluid” as reported by Tony Pauline on January 27.
Praised for his athleticism relative to his size, Burks preceded to struggle at the Combine, posting a 4.55-second 40-yard dash. Between the Combine and the Arkansas Pro Day, Burks compiled a Relative Athletic Score of just 5.83. Once considered by some as the top pass catcher in the class, Pauline reported that the Arkansas WR “might eventually fall out of the first round” during the March 29 episode of “Draft Insiders.”
Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Treylon Burks
Positives: Nice-sized receiver who flashes big-time ability and domination. Quickly gets to top speed, tracks the pass in the air, and battles opponents to come away with the reception. Extends his hands to snatch the ball out of the air, easily adjusts to errant throws, and reaches back to make receptions away from his frame.
Comes back to the ball to make himself an available target and possesses soft, natural hands. Sturdy receiver who makes the difficult reception in contorted positions. Catches the ball in a crowd, takes a pounding, and holds onto the throw. Works to pick up yardage after the catch and consistently keeps the play in bounds. Nicely makes the reception at full speed.
Negatives: Possesses a limited route tree and shows marginal skill after the catch. Struggles separating through routes. Performed poorly during Combine workouts.
Analysis: Burks flashed big-time ability last season and is a large receiver with a nice upside. He’s not the “do-everything” pass catcher many have made him out to be, but in the proper system, Burks can be a productive starter on Sundays as a possession wideout.