By Dylan MacKinnon
Would the Eagles use a 3rd First Round pick in 3 years on a WR? My instincts say no, but several NFL Insiders seem to be suggesting it is a strong possibility. Another WR is certainly a need. And while most fans want that to be a FA WR, there are several impressive WRs in the draft who would look pretty good across from Devonta Smith. So with all that said, let’s take a look at one of the most popular names among Eagles fans. Treylon Burks out of Arkansas. Could he be a fit with the Eagles? Here is what you should know about him.
Not just Big, but Fast
Athlete will be the buzzword you hear over and over again when discussing Burks. He is not just big at 6’3″ 225 pounds, but he is pretty fast too. And he moves really well on the field. There is a suddenness to the way he moves that makes him tough to stick to. He has surprising acceleration for someone his size that often allows him to create separation. Burks consistently produced chunk plays for the Arkansas offense. His hands are so big he had to get custom-made 5XL Gloves. And those large mitts he calls hands help be very reliable catching the ball.
You may look at him and peg him as an X WR because of his massive frame. But that would be underselling him. With his combination of size and speed, he was capable of lining up at all 3 positions for the Razorbacks. And actually spent most of his time in the Slot. He isn’t just a big body to target on contested catches. he can make plays after the catch. In fact, he is among the most prolific WRs after the catch in the last few years.
Power Five leaders in yards after the catch since 2020— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 21, 2022
1️⃣ John Metchie III: 1,000
2️⃣ Treylon Burks: 985
3️⃣ Jordan Addison: 973 pic.twitter.com/vi21sHkXJR
Burks started making waves in High School when he emerged as someone with the size of a linebacker, but also the speed and athleticism of a WR. He excelled in multiple sports. Burks even made the All-State team as an outfielder, which speaks to his ability to track and snag the deep ball.
Arkansas’s head coach Sam Pittman had nothing but praise for Burks after hearing the Junior WR was entering the draft early.
“When he’s one-on-one, just throw it to him and he’ll be able to come down with it if it’s anywhere close to him. Matured this year I thought as a competitor. Competed very, very well. Very hard. He’s got a bright, bright future in the game and a bright future outside of the game. I think the whole state of Arkansas is proud of what he did. I certainly am. We’re very thankful that he was here for three years.”- Sam Pittman
Burks is also useful in the run game. Not just because his size makes him an ideal blocker. Arkansas occasionally used him as an actually runner on end arounds and reverses, and he was fairly successful too. Its just another facet of his games that makes him very versatile.
Things He Should Work On
Despite his size, Burks can struggle in press coverage. When corners press him he often struggled to create separation. The tape shows him multiple times just running into the corner. He has the size, speed, and play strength where he should be able to handle it. But the technique is lacking right now.
Cooper Kupp has had a similar issue, and is now perhaps the best WR in the NFL. So it is not something that will derail his career. But it is the type of thing that may prevent him from being an X in the NFL. And the Eagles may occasionally need him to fill that roll. There are things they can do to help him with that. Nick Sirianni came up as a WR Coach, so he may be well suited to help Burks. And They can also do things like the Rams do, such as lining him up in the slot or in bunch formations to break up the press and let him get separation to do what he does best.
Burks could also stand to be a better route runner. He often relies on his size and athleticism to beat corners. But he will have more consistent success is he instead relies on crisp route running. Devonta Smith is one of the most impressive route runners coming out of college in a long time. If Burks ends up in Philly he would do well to get some pointers from his new team mate.
The ceiling is incredibly high for Burks. But there is a floor because of some of these technique issues.
The Character to Match His Skill
When Pittman was told about Burks entering the draft, he did not stop at praising his on the field accomplishments. Pittman was effusive in his praise of Burks character. Pittman said that it was the team meetings that will do the most to raise Burks draft stock.
“As soon as they meet him, he’ll raise it. He’s a phenomenal kid. It’s hard for me to be disappointed in a man that leaves after three years and doesn’t play in a bowl and those things, when all the things that he’s done for the University and for the football team and for me personally. He’s just a phenomenal guy, and I think he’ll run faster than what maybe, I hope, and I think he will, than maybe what the scouts think he can.”- Sam Pittman.
Pittman also praised Burks work ethic. And it is that work ethic that makes the technique easier to swallow. Because technique is the thing you can over come with hard work. No matter how hard someone works, they may never get to be as big and fast as Burks is. But you can grind and spend long days in the tape room and improve your technique. And according to Pittman, Burks has the will and energy to do just that.
What the Experts Say
Jordan Reid- ESPN
#Arkansas WR Treylon Burks:— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) February 25, 2022
A blend of size, hands, and positional versatility. He has underrated straight line speed. Burks can run away from defenders and he showed that top end speed against Alabama. pic.twitter.com/wFxiFNS14P
“Big, smooth and natural, Burks possesses the versatility to operate from wherever you want and get to wherever you need no matter the competition. He’s a mismatch receiver combining size, strength and competitiveness similar to the Titans’ A.J. Brown, but appears to be faster and more athletic. Arkansas benefitted by putting the ball in his hands from a variety of alignments and there is no reason to believe NFL play-callers won’t benefit from doing the same. For as talented as Burks is today, he’s likely to keep getting better. He will require specific game-planning for defenses operating without a true CB1 and has the potential to star as a high-volume, three-level target who can start and produce in his rookie season.”
If the Eagles do want to take a WR, it is hard to argue against Burks. He is big, fast, has good hands, and explosive after the catch. Having him and Smith to go along with Dallas Goedert could give the eagles one of the best pass catching groups in the NFL.
The question is not if Burks is a good fit. it is only if taking another WR in the first round is a good move. It would be the 3rd time in 3 years they do so. Moving on from Jalen Reagor is 100% fair, but I can see the argument against doing so through the draft. It will likely depend on what they do in free agency. They have decent cap space, but also many needs. If they can shore up the defense in Free Agency, drafting a Burks would make sense. But if you sign a Allen Robinson or Chris Godwin, it would be a redundant pick.
We will have a better idea of their draft needs after free agency. But for now, Burks is certainly a name worth knowing in case the Eagles Don’t land a FA WR.