When the Tennessee Titans drafted Arkansas large receiver Treylon Burks within the first spherical of the 2022 NFL draft — shortly after buying and selling A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles — evaluations had been combined. Regardless of working away from secondaries within the SEC throughout his closing yr with the Razorbacks, a 4.55-second 40-yard sprint on the Scouting Mix in Indianapolis led some analysts to imagine that he was too gradual to be a real vertical menace on NFL Sundays.
The truth that Burks was working away from these secondaries, and working that 40-yard sprint, whereas weighing 255 kilos appeared to be ignored in that evaluation, however that may be a dialogue for an additional time.
For a lot of, nonetheless, Burks appeared like the perfect Brown alternative. Throughout the draft course of, Brown was a standard participant comparability for the Arkansas receiver.
His NFL profession, nonetheless, bought off to a slower begin than Titans followers had been hoping for. Burks, who suffers from bronchial asthma, handled “respiratory associated points” in the course of the staff’s rookie minicamp. However he was prepared for the beginning of coaching camp, having labored on his conditioning, and how you can deal with his bronchial asthma, over the summer season.
However then he suffered a wrist damage in the course of the Titans’ first preseason sport, which prompted him to overlook time throughout coaching camp. He returned as camp wound down, and was within the lineup in Week 1, however solely noticed 16 targets over his first 4 NFL video games.
Burks returned to the Titans final week, in Tennessee’s 17-10 win over the Denver Broncos. However the efficiency Titans followers — and maybe these analysts that predicted NFL success for him — had been ready to see got here on Thursday evening. In opposition to the Inexperienced Bay Packers, Burks hauled in a career-best 7 passes for 111 yards.
Nevertheless it was what he did on two performs specifically that speaks to the sort of game-breaking menace he could be within the NFL.
The primary huge play got here on Tennessee’s opening drive of the sport. With the Titans going through a third and seven on their very own 20-yard line, they had been in peril of opening the competition with a three-and-out.
Burks aligns as the center receiver within the journeys formation to the left, and runs a deep submit route. The defender overlaying him performs with inside leverage, so the rookie does job of getting excessive of the defensive again. However as he’s working throughout the sphere, Tannehill’s throw is to his upfield shoulder, forcing Burks to regulate vertically.
Which he does to perfection:
Not solely does Burks regulate his path completely, however he is ready to observe this throw over his shoulder, whereas cornerback Keisean Nixon tries in useless to rake his arms and knock the ball away.
The massive achieve units the Titans up in Packers’ territory, and they’d end the drive with a landing to take an early 7-0 lead on the street.
Nevertheless, the play which may illustrate finest Burks’ capacity to emphasize defenses within the vertical passing sport got here within the second half. With the Titans going through a 1st and 10 with simply over two minutes remaining, and holding a ten-point lead, they went for the knockout punch.
Utilizing a jumbo “13” personnel package deal, with two tight ends within the sport together with an additional deal with, Le’Raven Clark, aligned as a decent finish, the Titans used play-action to place the ball within the air. Burks, the one large receiver within the sport, runs a go route towards Jaire Alexander.
Watch as Burks erases the presnap cushion, and works proper previous Alexander for the large achieve:
The rookie’s mixture of measurement, pace, and energy stands out on this play. First, he has the straight-line pace to erase Alexander’s cushion. However as soon as he works previous the cornerback, Burks makes use of his body — and his energy — to stack the defender and protect him away from the soccer.
He finishes the play by making the reception, and dragging Alexander for about ten extra yards to set the Titans up with first-and-goal.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill would run out the clock with three-straight kneel downs.
These two performs spotlight simply how harmful Burks could be within the vertical passing sport. His mixture of measurement, pace, and energy makes him a menace on downfield throws. For an offense like Tennessee’s, constructed round Derrick Henry, the play-action passing sport, and explosive shot performs downfield off of play-action, Burks appeared like the perfect match popping out of Arkansas.
His efficiency towards the Packers makes that appear much more possible.