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Raiders Draft: Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas scouting report

A YAC monster and first round option

Missouri v Arkansas
Treylon Burks
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Arkansas’ Treylon Burks has drawn comparisons to Deebo Samuel for his skills with the ball in his hands and is one of the best wide receivers in this year’s NFL Draft class. But, is Burks what the Las Vegas Raiders should be looking for out wide?

WR | Arkansas | 6’2” and 225 lbs | Warren, AR | March 23rd, 2000 (21.9)

Overview:

Treylon Burks came to Arkansas as a four-star recruit and the No. 16 wide receiver in the country for the 2019 class, per 247 Sports. He earned a starting spot at slot receiver as a true freshman and his role grew year after year with the Razorbacks lining him up at several spots last season, including out wide, in the backfield and as a wing/tight end. In three years, he racked up 144 catches for 2,386 yards and 18 touchdowns, to go along with 36 carries for 243 yards and one score on the ground.

Strengths:

  • Pretty good size for an NFL wide receiver
  • Solid acceleration off the line of scrimmage against off coverage
  • Effective power-skip release to get a two-way go against press corners and he uses his hands to beat the corner
  • He has the balance and strength to fight through contact from linebackers in the five-yard window
  • Attacks leverage to create space on intermediate to deep routes, especially on corners where he drives to the inside hard to get safeties to move
  • Alters his path during the stem phase of routes to keep defensive backs guessing on intermediate routes, including using a stair-step on drags or overs to sell the vertical
  • Pretty good at reading coverage and finding/sitting in the soft spots against zone coverage, and he snaps his head around to look for the ball while in the open area between the second and third levels of a defense
  • He’s a physical route runner who has the strength to use a flipper, push-by move or out muscle corners at the top of routes to get open. He can also use his body to box out smaller defensive backs on in-breaking routes
  • Understands spacing on scramble drills to find open grass and get open, he’s not going to run himself into coverage
  • Displays sideline awareness to drag his feet on catches near the boundary
  • Impressive concentration to make grabs in very tight windows on contested catches
  • He has pretty natural and strong hands, he can make catches away from his body with no problems. This, combined with his instincts to bring the ball into his body and protect it allows him to hold onto the ball through contact.
  • Good vision on screens to read blocks and has solid speed and elusiveness after the catch
  • His stiff arm is pretty dirty to put defensive backs in the dirt, and he has the balance to stay upright through contact from DBs.

Areas of Improvement:

  • Did not perform well in the athletic tests at the NFL Combine, earned a 6.31 Relative Athletic Score
  • Has a slight false step on his release, reducing his explosion off the line of scrimmage
  • Defenses weren’t threatened by his long speed in college, they’d sit in off coverage and very few corners would turn their hips to run/bail as he pushed vertical
  • Not explosive out of the cut on posts and corners, he seems to lack the second gear to win on deeper routes
  • On 90-degree or more routes, all of his cuts are very rounded and cornerbacks who can mirror and match will have no problems covering him here. This showed up at the combine with his 7.28 three-cone time, which ranks in the bottom 25 percentile for the position.
  • He also drifts after cutting curls, he just has sub-par change of direction skills
  • Defenders didn’t really bite on his double move routes because he doesn't sell the first route/move well
  • He’s a little early to open and turn his shoulders on back-shoulder throws, NFL corners will be able to see them coming
  • With a 33-inch vertical that’s in the bottom 25 percentile, he’s not going to be able to go up and get a lot of 50/50 balls
  • He makes business decisions when run blocking, he’ll do his part to get in the way but isn’t trying to actually block someone or putting a lot of effort into blocking defenders
  • Against physical defensive backs in the run game, he stops his feet on contact and will get pushed back and struggle to stay engaged
  • Also gets beat by defenders who are good at using their quickness to avoid block
NCAA Football: Arkansas at Alabama
Treylon Burks
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries:

  • 2019: Undisclosed injury (missed 1 game)
  • 2020: Knee injury (missed 1 game)
  • He had several minor injuries in 2021 but nothing major that made him miss games

Projection

NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board rank: 23rd overall, 1st round

Heading into the combine, Burks’ was ranked 14th and was in contention to be the first wide receiver off the board. However, after a less than stellar performance, in addition to other first-round receivers lighting it up in Indy, the former Razorback’s stock has taken a dip and will likely be looking at a late first-round selection. While yes, the underwear Olympics aren’t everything and the event favors track stars more than it does football players, a lot of the drills that he struggled in also showed up on tape.

As far as a scheme goes, Burks would be great in a West Coast-style of offense that can take advantage of his ability to create yards after the catch. Going to a team that has a creative offensive mind would help unlock his potential also, as that’s what Kendal Briles did at Arkansas to fully take advantage of the wideout’s skillset.

What do we need to know?

Is he quick enough to overcome his relatively average athleticism? As Cooper Kupp said: “Speed is a luxury, quickness is a necessity.”

While Burks may not have the speed or athletic testing numbers that NFL scouts and general managers covet, he can make up for that by being sudden/quick. That being said, that’s not something particularly stood out about his game in college — good or bad — so it will likely be something he still needs to work on, especially if he’s going to operate out of the slot.

Fit with the Raiders:

Yes, Las Vegas does need a wide receiver and needs one badly, and the Arkansas product is one of the best in the draft class, so the intrigue is certainly there, especially within the fanbase. However, even though he plays a position of need for the Raiders, I don’t think he would fill the void that their offense is missing.

The Raiders already have a slot receiver who can win in the short to intermediate areas, Hunter Renfrow, but what they’re lacking is someone who can stretch the field vertically to open things up underneath for everyone else. While I have heard part of the reason Burks didn’t get a ton of downfield targets in college had more to do with the quarterback situation at Arkansas, his 40-yard-dash time suggests otherwise. Also, as mentioned above, I never felt like opposing defenses were ever really threatened by his speed.

To me, even if Burks is available at pick No. 24, Dave Ziegler would be better off addressing another position and waiting a round or two to find a wideout. There’s no shortage of speed receivers in this year’s draft class, so I’m confident they can find someone outside of Day 1 that better fits what their offense is missing.

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