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Dynasty Rookie Prospect Profile: Treylon Burks (2022 Fantasy Football)

 

Treylon Burks has been one of the most widely discussed prospects all offseason. Burks has become a polarizing player, with a combine showing that didn’t live up to lofty expectations and a production profile that can push back against these shortcomings. Even the most bearish mock draft authors don’t have him falling outside round one. Peering over his college resume, there’s a good reason that he won’t fall outside the top 32 picks. He racked up a 92nd percentile college dominator (45.9%, per PlayerProfiler) and target share (31.3%). His college yards per reception are also above average at 16.8 (76th percentile).

The flip side of the coin is that Burks only logged a 50th percentile breakout age (20.5, per PlayerProfiler), and while his speed score is in the 86th percentile, his 40-yard dash (49th percentile) and burst score (29th percentile) range from subpar to terrible. The inconsistencies don’t stop there. As we parse the various phases of his game with film and data, Burks becomes an even more intriguing draft selection with a wide range of outcomes.

Andrew Erickson Mock Draft

Treylon Burks Draft Profile

Position School Height Weight 40-yard dash 2021 Age Class Recruit stars* Projected round
WR Arkansas 6’2″ 225 4.55 22 Jr. 4 1

* Recruit stars via 247Sports

 

Treylon Burks College Statistics

Year Games  Targets (Target %) Receptions Receiving yards Yards per reception Catch rate Receiving touchdowns
2019 11 64 (15.7%) 29 475 16.4 45.3% 0
2020 9 71 (25.0%) 51 820 16.0 71.8% 7
2021 12 92 (29.3%) 66 1104 16.7 72.0% 11

 

Treylon Burks Dynasty Fantasy Analysis

It’s hard not to be impressed by Burks’ analytical profile below. As a big-bodied slot receiver during his career at Arkansas, he posted some eye-popping efficiency numbers. Over his final two collegiate seasons, he ranked inside the top 17 in the below sample of wide receivers in Yards per route run and yards after the catch (YAC) per reception.

Among FBS wide receivers with 50 or more targets (*Statistics referenced per PFF*):
Year Slot snap rate Yards per route run (rank) YAC per reception Missed tackles forced
2019 84.9% 1.83 (154th of 290) 3.9 (224th) 6 (157th)
2020 79.9% 3.07 (17th of 146) 7.6 (13th) 9 (40th)
2021 67.7% 3.57 (3rd of 251) 9.3 (4th) 15 (29th)

Scouts regard Burks as a YAC maven, and while his numbers are stellar in that area, this is also a reflection of his usage and role at Arkansas. Burks was utilized on screens (21.5-22.7% of his targets from 2020-2021, per PFF) and heavily as a zone beater. Many of Burks’ routes were schemed or designed short-area layups and play calls where he needed to identify the soft spots in the opposition’s zone defense. This isn’t a knock on Burks’ game, as he showed a good feel for finding opportunistic areas against the coverage. His usage in these short areas of the field superseded the other wide receivers mentioned in the same breath as possible or locked-in first-round picks. Outside of Drake London’s 2021 season, no other player had more than 60% of his targets coming within nine yards of the line of scrimmage, much less in back-to-back seasons.

Target % behind the line of scrimmage (BLOS) and 0-9 yards
(*Statistics referenced per PFF*):

Player 2020 2021
Treylon Burks 60.0% 61.4%
Garrett Wilson 43.1% 50.9%
Drake London 55.8% 64.7%
Chris Olave 49.2% 42.6%
Jameson Williams 46.2%

42.6%

This usage pattern is worrisome when projecting his transition to the NFL level. Burks posted 3.12 (26th) and 3.98 (11th) Yards per route run against man coverage (minimum 15 man-coverage targets). Still, these numbers are generous and misleading if we’re attempting to project his skills to a transition as an outside receiver. In the games I watched, even against man coverage, the vast majority of his reps were against corners who were playing off and refusing to press him at the line. On the limited reps I saw where corners get physical with him close to the line of scrimmage, Burks was able to win some of these battles with his footwork to gain separation. Other times, he allowed the corner to get into his body and stick to him like glue. Overall, it was a small sample and a mixed bag as far as outcomes. He could struggle if he’s asked to operate as a boundary receiver early in his career. His release package and route running are limited at this juncture in his career. If he has issues gaining separation in the NFL, his contested catch ability isn’t stout enough to overcome it. Over the last three seasons, he has seen 45 contested targets (per PFF) but only reeled in 48.9% of these looks.

His ability to chew up yards once the ball is in his hands is a byproduct of his build-up and long speed. Burks was defending his 40 time and speed in interviews recently, stating, “Go watch film and see if I’ve been caught with that 40 time.” I don’t disagree with this assertion at all. Once he was in the open field, he left corners in the dust. The concerns regarding his YAC ability in the NFL are accurate if he’s going to be asked to create for himself in confined space or after the reception on boundary routes with his strength. While he ranked 40th and 29th over the last two seasons in missed tackles forced, he isn’t a prodigious tackle-breaking behemoth after the catch. The concerns regarding his burst and play strength show up here. If he had tested like an alien similar to D.K. Metcalf, his missed-tackles numbers would have been even better.

While much of this profile has discussed the current limitations to his game, Burks remains a talented player with some definite strengths. The key will be for an offensive play-caller to place him in advantageous situations early on while expanding his repertoire at the next level. The assumption of rationale coaching can be a slippery slope, but it doesn’t mean you still can’t climb to the top of the mountain by taking this trail.

Player Comp

Discount-Brand Demaryius Thomas

Demaryius Thomas was utilized on the boundary on 80% of his snaps in his rookie season, but he saw 62.1% of his targets within nine yards of the line of scrimmage. As Thomas progressed, he was deployed more in the realm of 10-19 yards and deep down the field. He consistently posted 5.9 yards after the catch per reception or higher in his first five seasons in the NFL.

Landing Spot and Outlook

Team Drafted: Tennessee Titans
Pick Selected: No. 18 overall

This is a best-case scenario for Treylon Burks’ dynasty hope. Burks now assumes the possible top spot in the Titans’ passing attack. This scheme was designed for a similar archetype of wide receiver before him in A.J. Brown. Burks, the question has never been raw talent, but how that talent would transition to the NFL. The A.J. Brown treatment with screens and yards after the catch opportunities should be paramount for Todd Downing.

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