Where does Treylon Burks fit in Titans’ plans for 2024, beyond?

Where does Treylon Burks fit in Titans’ plans for 2024, beyond?

New Tennessee Titans wide receiver coach Tyke Tolbert met Treylon Burks before arriving in Nashville this spring. 

During the 2022 pre-draft process, when Tolbert was an assistant with the Bears, Burks took a “30 visit” to Chicago. 

An eventual first-round pick by Tennessee, the former Arkansas star is the same talent now that Tolbert saw then. 

“(I told him) ‘You’re the same guy I saw kill Alabama DBs, kill LSU DBs,'” Tolbert said earlier this month. “In the NFL, guess who you’re playing against? Alabama DBs. LSU DBs. You’ve got to continue to be you. Control what you can control. He’s been doing that (this offseason).”

Will it carry into the regular season? 

Burks’ role is murky entering 2024, considering his struggles through two seasons coupled with the offseason additions of veteran standouts Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd, pushing him down the depth chart. Since entering the NFL, Burks has missed 12 games due to health issues and injuries. And he’s disappointed when he’s on the field. In 15 appearances, he has 49 receptions for 665 yards and just one touchdown. 

Taking into consideration that the current Titans regime didn’t draft him, many league observers believe the former first-round pick could be on the trade block. But coach Brian Callahan has said he’ll have a role on the team. 

“We’ve made very clear to Treylon that the signing of Tyler is not about him,” Callahan said. “It’s about helping our team get better. Adding better players to our team. Making us a competitive football team. What he’s done and how he’s worked has been great. I’m anticipating him still to be able to play a good role for us. 

“You have to have guys that can step in and play,” he added. “You got to have guys that can play roles. That hasn’t changed. Doesn’t change anything for Treylon as far as what we’re expecting from him and what I’m hopeful he can bring to the offense.” 

What the role will be is unclear, though. 

On paper, Burks is fourth in the pecking order, behind DeAndre Hopkins, Ridley and Boyd. And Tennessee plans to play him across the formation (all Titans receivers will be cross-trained). He’s played primarily outside his first two years in the NFL, while he played predominantly out of the slot at Arkansas, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Callahan and Tolbert have raved about how Burks has looked in the offseason program to this point. 

“You hear things when you come into a new situation about guys and what happened in the past and all that stuff,” Tolbert said. “I told all of those guys, ‘you get a fresh set of eyes on you.’ Treylon has done everything and more that we’ve asked of him. Treylon is a guy that this offseason, he’s probably the only guy — maybe one other guy on our team from a receiver standpoint — that has played three positions. I’m forcing him to learn all the positions, all the concepts because you never know where he could line up. He could be outside, inside. So he’s really taken a hold of that.”

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Callahan said earlier this month that he had Burks break the team down after practice, a testament to the work ethic he’s displayed. 

“Just to give you guys some context, Tuesdays are our hardest days of our four-day work week,” he explained. “It’s a really heavy day. So the load on the players is high. And what I mean by that is acceleration, max speed and yardage. Treylon I think ran 3,591 yards (that day) and hit our top speed and team-leading top speed at 22.6 miles per hour in practice. So super impressive workload and performance.” 

Burks doesn’t have much trade value right now, and that could be a great thing for the Titans. If he enjoys a breakout 2024 in Callahan’s pass-first scheme, Tennessee could have more depth at wide receiver than it’s had in years — maybe more than the franchise has ever had in Tennessee. 

It could make for an interesting 2025 offseason, when the Titans would have the option of exercising the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. 

Hopkins, Ridley and Boyd will all be at least 30 years old next spring. Retaining an ascending Burks for 2026 — and potentially beyond — could become a priority for Callahan and general manager Ran Carthon. All of a sudden, Tennessee would have a promising, young target to grow with Will Levis, its hopeful franchise quarterback. 

But Burks has a long way to go to reach that point. If he reaches that point. 

The Titans see the talent, though. 

“Treylon is one of the most athletic people I’ve ever played with, for as big as he is and as fast as he is,” Hopkins said Tuesday. “I’m looking forward to seeing what he does this year.” 

One of his coaches agrees.

“He’s got a skillset,” offensive coordinator Nick Holz said earlier this month. “He’s a big guy who can run and he can make contested catches. If he can find a way to do that for us, that would be a pretty big addition.” 

Will that potential be realized? 

Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports. He previously worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where he was the Titans beat writer for a year and a half. He covered the Seattle Seahawks for SeattlePI.com for three seasons (2018-20) prior to moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.

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About the Author

Marie Maynes
Marie Maynes is a Sports enthusiast and writes for the Sports section of ANH.