2022 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Treylon Burks (Fantasy Football)
If your dynasty team needs depth at wide receiver, this might just be the perfect draft for your team. While there might not necessarily be a Ja’Marr Chase in this class, there are several impressive prospects that could have significant upside at the next level. One of those wide receivers is Arkansas’ Treylon Burks, who is a candidate to be the first receiver drafted in this class. An early declare who led his team in receiving yards every single year, Burks has a complete profile with the potential to be a top-tier wide receiver in the NFL.
Without further ado, let’s dive into Treylon Burks’ production profile and film!
Editors Note: This article is part of our Rookie Profile series going on until the 2022 NFL Draft. For more on each rookie, check out Andy, Mike, and Jason’s exclusive rookie rankings and production profiles found only in the Dynasty Pass, part of the UDK+ for 2022.
College Production Profile
Treylon Burks grew up in Warren, Arkansas, and was ranked the number one prospect coming out of his state in 2019. Naturally, as a 4-star recruit, he had plenty of offers from schools such as Ole Miss, LSU, and Florida State. However, he eventually decided to stay close to home, enrolling at the University of Arkansas. As a true freshman, he only totaled 475 receiving yards in 11 games while scoring 0 touchdowns that season. But while those numbers might seem unimpressive, as you can see in the table below, Burks actually accounted for 24.3% of his team’s receiving yards in his 11 games.
After a productive first season, Burks’ Sophomore campaign would truly cement him as one of the top wide receiver prospects in the 2022 class. Not only did he account for 39.4% of his team’s receiving yards, but he also averaged an impressive 40.2% weighted receiving dominator rating. To put his production into context, his weighted dominator rating was only slightly behind DeVonta Smith’s historic season (42.8%) – except Burks achieved those numbers at nearly two years younger.
After setting the bar extremely high, it was hard to imagine a Junior campaign that would exceed his 2020 numbers. However, that’s exactly what Burks did in his final season, setting career highs in nearly every statistical metric in 2021. In fact, he would lead ALL Power 5 wide receivers that season in both weighted receiving dominator rating and receiving yards per team pass attempt, two of the most predictive metrics for wide receivers.
Finally, to illustrate just how special Burks has been at the collegiate level, listed below are all first-round WRs since 2010 who averaged (per-game) at least 2.50 receiving yards per team pass attempt and a 30% weighted receiver dominator rating as a prospect:
- Dez Bryant
- Demaryius Thomas
- A.J. Green
- Julio Jones
- Justin Blackmon
- Amari Cooper
- Corey Davis
- Rashod Bateman
With Burks essentially locked in as a first-round pick, he would become the 9th wide receiver to join this impressive list. In short, there are very few reasons to fade Burks as a prospect. And based on his well-rounded profile, he should absolutely be considered a top-tier pick in all rookie drafts.
Athletically, Burks is exactly what you want from a potential superstar wide receiver in the NFL. Based on his film, he has the height and vertical to rise above most defensive backs, and the weight to battle through physicality. And while his 40-yard dash from the NFL combine does not stand out, Burks showed plenty of speed in his film that allowed him to win frequently and consistently all over the field. However, if we want to contextualize his 40-time, the best way to do that is by using a metric called “Height Adjusted Speed Score.” This metric adjusts a player’s 40-time based on their height and weight, accounting for the fact that a 225 lb receiver may not necessarily be as fast as a 180 lb player due to their difference in body mass. Based on his combine numbers, Burks’ adjusted speed score comes in at roughly 106.3 which is still well above average. As a comparison, Justin Jefferson entered the league with an adjusted speed score of 104.9, while Ja’Marr Chase scored a 106.8 at his pro-day. Lastly, Burks does enter the NFL with a slight injury history, tearing his ACL in his senior year in high school. However, he is now about four years removed from the injury and has proven over the last few years that he is clearly healthy enough to produce elite numbers.
What’s on Tape
If you followed along with my weekly Dynasty Report, you might already be familiar with my film-evaluation process. In short, I watch 4-to-6 games, taking notes on every offensive snap for that player.
Games Viewed: 2021 vs Alabama, 2021 vs Texas A&M, 2021 vs Ole Miss, 2021 vs Auburn
1. Burks’ speed and size combination give him an extremely high ceiling in the NFL
As I mentioned earlier, Burks has a unique blend of physicality, size, and speed – essentially making him a mismatch nightmare against most DBs. And while he certainly has plenty of speed and quickness to beat defenders on go routes, it’s Burks’ smooth acceleration that makes him such an intriguing prospect. His ability to slow down and catch defenders off guard with his deceptive speed allows him to effortlessly create yards after the catch. Similarly, Burks’ ability to erase tackling angles through his acceleration is equally impressive, which is on full display in the clip below. After battling through physical coverage by Josh Jobe (Alabama CB who is currently projected as a Day 2 prospect), Burks creates enough separation to haul in the reception. At that point, both defensive backs should have the angle to stop him in his tracks. However, Burks turns it up to another notch and explodes towards the end-zone. Not many wide receivers with his size would have taken this in for a touchdown.
2. Burks has an absurd catch radius due to his length and body control
Burks’ film is filled with highlight-worthy plays ranging from one-handed catches to acrobatic, contested receptions. Part of this is due to his natural length (wingspan and hand-size), but it is also driven by his ability to adjust mid-air and fight through contact. Even when the ball is slightly off target, Burks will – more often than not – still find a way to reel it in. As a result, he should be an extremely reliable target on whichever offense is fortunate enough to land him in the draft. If you want to watch one of Burks’ most impressive games, his film against Texas A&M this past season is filled with multiple athletic plays highlighting his body control and effort at the catch point. The clip below is just one of many impressive plays from that game.
3. Though primarily a slot receiver, Burks was used as a versatile weapon at Arkansas
Burks can be a truly versatile weapon in the NFL as evidenced by his usage in the Razorbacks’ offense. While he was primarily used as a slot receiver, he proved that he can win as an outside receiver and as a rusher. In fact, in his final two seasons, he rushed for 187 yards on 29 attempts, averaging 4.8% of the team’s rushing yards in 21 games. My hope is that Burks finds a home on a creative offense that is willing to use him in a variety of ways, instead of restricting him only to the outside or in the slot. Because of his electric playmaking ability, the coaching staff just needs to get the ball in Burks’ hands and allow him to use his athleticism to create plays.
What’s Not on Tape
1. Frequent reps against Man & Press Coverage
As mentioned above, Treylon Burks was not utilized as a typical x-receiver. In fact, he was primarily used inside the slot, which presented plenty of mismatches for opposing defenses. This also means that Burks frequently lined up off the line of scrimmage and rarely faced man/press coverage during his time at Arkansas. While this would generally be a concern for a receiver entering the NFL, on the few occasions that he did line up outside against man/press, Burks was usually successful. Per Kevin Cole from PFF, Burks only faced press coverage on 10.4% of his routes, yet he created 6.4 yards per route run on those opportunities. So despite operating primarily out of the slot, Burks displayed the quickness and physicality needed to win regardless of the coverage.
2. Consistent effort as a Blocker
Burks does not have any major/glaring weaknesses so I am slightly nitpicking here; however, there were instances where Burks lacked consistent effort as a blocker. In his film, there were a few plays where I observed him jogging off the line of scrimmage and showing little engagement when asked to block. And while some of those plays were not necessarily on his side of the field, you would still expect him to show effort and intention. At times, this also led to negative plays as he would be slow to engage, allowing the defender to slip by him and initiate a tackle for loss. On the other hand, there were also instances where Burks would plow over his defender in the blocking game, clearly proving that he can dominate in this facet of the game. Especially at 6’3” and 225 lbs, Burks should consistently win as a blocker, but that was not always the case at the collegiate level.
2022 Fantasy Outlook
Treylon Burks has by far the most complete analytical profile in this deep wide receiver class, especially when you factor in his experience-adjusted production. Couple that with his projected first-round draft capital (per the NFL Mock Draft Database) and Burks should be considered the WR1 in this class. In fact, he would be one of the few wide receivers that I would expect to contribute as early as this season. Part of this will depend on his landing spot – though I do believe Burks is the type of player that simply needs the ball in his hands to produce. As long as his OC is willing to get creative and use Burks all over the field, he should be able to contribute even as a rookie. Some of the more common landing spots that I have seen in mock drafts are the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns. And while both of those landing spots have an established wide receiver corps, I find it hard to believe that a team would draft a player with Burks’ profile only to use him as a secondary option. And lastly, as far as his dynasty rookie ADP is concerned, he should be a top-3 pick in all 1 QB leagues. In SuperFlex leagues the discussion becomes a little trickier due to the inflated value of quarterbacks, but I would not be opposed to taking him within the top-3 as well. Because based on his overall profile, Burks has one of the highest ceilings of any skill-position player in the 2022 class.