The 2022 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and the Atlanta Falcons have quickly become one of the most intriguing teams to watch in this year’s event. There are a number of ways the Falcons can go with their No. 8 overall pick, and they’ve got five of the top 82 picks in this draft.
In the lead-up to this important draft for Atlanta, we’re going to be providing our evaluations of some of the top prospects. For those unfamiliar with our process, we’re using Kevin Knight’s own grading system, which you can read about here. This system is still in development and minor tweaks may be made as more data is available.
Today’s prospect is Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks. A dangerous player with the ball in his hands, Burks was used in a variety of ways throughout his college career. With space becoming a dominant part of today’s NFL, a player like Burks is well-equipped to take advantage as a featured player for offenses.
WR | Treylon Burks | Arkansas | #16
Games watched: Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M
Don’t let the relative disappointment of Treylon Burks’s NFL Combine performance fool you, he is one of the most physically gifted wide receivers in this year’s draft. Burks is 6 feet 2 inches and weighs 225 pounds, making him the ideal size for an outside receiver in the NFL. On top of his physical stature, Burks has terrific field speed and body control to round out his athletic profile.
It’s hard to imagine a better time for Burks to enter the NFL as his play style and usage at Arkansas is reminiscent of San Francisco’s use of Deebo Samuel, one of the league’s revelations in 2021. His run-after-catch ability led the Razorbacks to use him in a variety of ways, but particularly in the slot where he could be given the ball quickly and efficiently.
Placing Burks in the slot, where receivers have the advantage of a two-way release and defenses aren’t as press-happy, also minimized his underdeveloped route running. While he has the speed, release and hands to excel as a downfield receiver, it may take him some time to become an NFL-caliber route runner.
That shouldn’t be an issue in the short-term, however, as Burks is a good contested catch receiver. His combination of body control and size should continue to allow him to win against tight coverage at the next level. Burks should also be ready to contribute on Day 1, especially for a team that has a hybrid role in mind for this playmaker.
Had a disappointing 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, but Burks’s speed is immediately apparent. Ran away from a pack of Alabama defenders. Manipulates his speed very well and possesses elite acceleration. His speed is a major asset at his size.
He moves very well for someone so solid. Great footwork at the line of scrimmage and when separating late. Does slow down while getting in and out of breaks. Burks has better slashing agility than true lateral agility.
Catch Ability: 7
Displays great speed manipulation to give himself the best chance to catch the ball. Can make difficult one-handed grabs. Plucks the ball away from his body. Physical at the catch point and adjusts well to win contested balls.
Route Running: 5
More of an athlete than a technician. He didn’t run a large variety of routes, as he was most effective when given the ball quickly. Speed control to sell corners on manipulation routes. Quick to give the QB a target. Rounds off the tops of routes.
Prototypical size of an X receiver in the NFL - compares favorably to Dez Bryant and Larry Fitzgerald. Uses his size to his advantage on contested catches and as a runner after the catch. Size does not hinder athleticism.
Can win against press coverage, stack the defender and catch the home run ball. Shows impressive variation with his release cadence. Uses his stutter-step effectively to get leverage quickly. Exceptional acceleration to pair with his top-end speed helps him get behind defenders in a blink.
Will compete for and win plenty of 50/50 jump balls. Fluid mover in space who stays over his toes. Accelerates quickly enough to take short passes the distance. A better runner than a leaper.
Yards After Catch: 8
Just get the ball in his hands and let Burks go to work. He fits the mold of a Deebo Samuel/Cordarrelle Patterson-type of player. Great vision as a runner, and he can run through people or around them.
Became a bigger part of the offense each year on campus. 2,111 all-purpose yards and 19 touchdowns over his final 21 college games. Played out wide, in the slot and out of the backfield for Arkansas. Had a versatile role for the offense.
Has the necessary size and physicality to excel in this area. Doesn’t show a strong desire to make blocks. Gives little effort on the backside of plays.
Athleticism: 5.76, 12/20
Burks was labeled one of the most underwhelming performers at this year’s combine, but the tape should carry more weight. Players of his size and weight simply don’t move as he does in the different ways that he can.