Treylon Burks

Trade Candidate: Treylon Burks

Almost a year ago to this day, the Titans claimed they were “satisfied” with their group of wide receivers heading into the 2023 season. Two months later, the team decided to augment the group with the acquisition of veteran free agent DeAndre Hopkins. Still, the team finished 29th in the NFL in passing yards last year, leading to lots of investment in a new wide receiving corps.

Hopkins did his job. In 17 games, he led the team in all receiving categories with 75 catches for 1,057 yards, and seven touchdowns. He didn’t have much help, though, as his 137 targets were more than three times higher than the next most-targeted wideout, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (45), though tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo (77) and running back Tyjae Spears (70) received their fair share of targets.

The rest of the wide receiving corps provided nothing more than auxiliary numbers. After Hopkins, the next leading receivers were 30-year-old Chris Moore (22 receptions/424 yards/zero touchdowns), the undrafted Westbrook-Ihkine (28/370/3), and finally, former first-round pick Treylon Burks (16/221/0).

Burks experienced a bit of sophomore slump in 2023, even after putting up middling stats (33/444/1) in his rookie season. In both seasons, Burks has missed six contests with injury. His rookie year, turf toe landed him on injured reserve. This past season, an LCL sprain caused him to miss even more time.

Burks opportunity to turn things around in 2024 will be difficult in Tennessee. Though Moore has departed in free agency, Hopkins and Westbrook-Ikhine return next season. Additionally, the Titans invested massive capital in signing free agents Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd. Not only is this group a massive improvement over last year’s, but Hopkins also claims this is one of the best wide receiving corps he’s ever been a part of, per Michael David Smith of NBC Sports. That’s big praise for someone who shared the field with Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk.

With Ridley, Hopkins, and Boyd manning the first-team offense and Westbrook-Ikhine showing more reliability in 2023 than Burks, the 24-year-old out of Arkansas will struggle to see much of the field this year. Even if he does get some snaps, he’s going to have to earn targets over those four, as well. It’s starting to seem that if Burks is going to turn things around, it will require a change of scenery.

Before last year’s trade deadline, the Titans made it clear that running back Derrick Henry and Hopkins were not available. They were more receptive to hearing offers on Burks but were not necessarily inclined to move a young, former Day 1 pick. One has to imagine that, with the additions of Ridley and Boyd, their stances may have changed.

Tennessee is likely not going to fetch a first-round value out of Burks like what Baltimore got out of Marquise Brown a couple years ago, but some teams may still see the potential value in acquiring the sixth receiver off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft. Even if they aren’t quite satisfied with the offers they receive for Burks, his value is likely only going to decline in 2024, barring a shocking breakout season.

As for teams with wide receiver needs following the draft and free agency, the Ravens, Bills, Chargers, Steelers, and Jets could all stand to take a swing. The Bills and Chargers probably house the biggest need. With Buffalo losing both Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis this offseason, Khalil Shakir, Curtis Samuel, and rookie second-round pick Keon Coleman lead their room. After losing star veterans Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, Los Angeles is depending on Josh Palmer, last year’s first-round pick Quentin Johnston, and second-round rookie Ladd McConkey in 2024.

The Steelers (George Pickens, Van Jefferson, Roman Wilson) and Jets (Garrett Wilson, Williams, Malachi Corley) are each relying on a dynamic, young talent, an intriguing free agent, and a third-round rookie, while Baltimore could be looking to add another pass catcher to replace Odell Beckham Jr.‘s production from last year.

The Titans should have some options if they feel the need to move Burks or if Burks feels the need to request a change of scenery. Either way, it’s hard to see a situation in which Burks finds tremendous success as WR4 or WR5 on a Tennessee offense quarterbacked by Will Levis. If Burks wants to turn his career around and if the team wants to maximize his value, a move might be necessary this offseason or before the next trade deadline.

Titans Unlikely To Trade Derrick Henry, DeAndre Hopkins

The Titans are currently 2-4 and may be without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill for their last contest before the October 31 trade deadline (they have a bye this week and face the Falcons on October 29). They clearly profile as potential deadline sellers, but head coach Mike Vrabel is not throwing in the towel on the 2023 season, per Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports.

As such, Tennessee is not motivated to trade star running back Derrick Henry, as Robinson reports. While there is obvious concern about how many carries Henry has accumulated over the past few years, the two-time rushing leader has trade value. He still has some burst and is maintaing a solid 4.3 yards-per-carry average this season, and it is fair to expect that he will remain productive for the rest of the campaign.

Dianna Russini of The Athletic, though, has not found a team with much interest in Henry (subscription required). Perhaps that is because of his high usage rate and the fact that he is less than three months away from his 30th birthday, or perhaps it is simply because rival execs do not believe the Titans will seriously consider trading the longtime focal point of their offense. In any event, it presently appears likely that Henry will stay in Nashville through at least the end of the current season.

Likewise, it seems that wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will stay put. Robinson has spoken to a few receiver-needy clubs, and he does not get the sense that Tennessee will be able to get much of a return in a Hopkins trade. The three-time First Team All-Pro made plenty of PFR headlines during his free agency stint this year, though he later conceded that his market did not develop as he expected after he was released by the Cardinals in May. He ultimately joined the Titans on a two-year, $26MM deal, and it does not sound as if other clubs are anxious to take on the balance of that contract. Through six games in 2023, Hopkins has 27 catches on 47 targets for 376 yards. He has yet to find the endzone.

As opposed to his veteran teammates on the offensive side of the ball, safety Kevin Byard is receiving trade interest, per Russini. However, Robinson does not believe Byard would fetch anything more than a late-round pick, and assuming that’s the case, the Titans would be better served by keeping him in the fold.

Wideout Treylon Burks, a 2022 first-round pick who was supposed to help replace A.J. Brown‘s production, has also been the subject of trade inquiries, as Russini writes. Unsurprisingly, the Titans are not inclined to move any young player, let alone a player who was taken on Day 1 of the draft just one year ago.

Titans WR Treylon Burks Suffers LCL Sprain

Tennessee experienced a scare today when wide receiver Treylon Burks hobbled off the field after hauling in a deep throw in practice, as seen in this clip tweeted out by Leighton Glodek of StrictlyFootball. Luckily, it appears that Burks and the Titans dodged a bullet as an MRI revealed that he only suffered an LCL sprain, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The knee injury will cause Burks to miss time, but he won’t be forced to miss the significant amount of time he would’ve had to miss with a ligament tear. Rapoport estimates that Burks will be out for “a few weeks.” It’s unclear if that means he’ll be ready to suit up for Week 1 of the regular season or if he’ll miss the first few weeks of the year.

This continues a less than ideal start to Burks’s NFL career after missing six games with injuries as a rookie. Due to that injury history, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Titans ease him back to the field slowly to ensure that whenever he does make his return, it will be for the long run.

If Burks is forced to miss regular season time, newly acquired star wideout DeAndre Hopkins will only see more early targets as a result. Behind Hopkins, the Titans have a lot of young, inexperienced receivers that they need to get going. Chris Moore, who had a breakout season with the Texans last year, and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, who started 17 games for the Titans in 2022, are the most veteran receivers who likely are on the field right now with Hopkins with the first-team offense. Past those three, second-year fifth-round pick Kyle Philips is expected to take a larger role in his sophomore season.

The team’s depth at wide receiver is virtually nonexistent, so losing Burks for any amount of time is a brutal loss for the offense. Tennessee will be hoping to see Burks back on the field in time for the regular season and will be hoping to see him take the next step from an average rookie year.

Titans Satisfied With WR Group?

In a recent interview, newly appointed Titans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly responded in the affirmative when asked if the team currently had enough to work with at the wide receiver position, according to Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com. Many have regarded the team’s wide receiving corps as a weakness, but while not a guarantee that the team will stand pat at the position, Kelly seems to be satisfied with what he currently has to work with.

After releasing last season’s leading receiver, Robert Woods, Tennessee returns last year’s first-round pick Treylon Burks (444 receiving yards in 2022), Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (397), Kyle Philips (78), Racey McMath (40), Mason Kinsey (3), and Reggie Roberson (0). The team also added former Ravens and Texans wideout Chris Moore in free agency back in April after a bit of a breakout season in Houston that saw him reach career highs in starts (7), catches (48), and receiving yards (548).

The team signed five rookie pass catchers, as well. The Titans drafted Tennessee-Martin wide receiver Colton Dowell in the seventh-round and added Oregon State’s Tre’Shaun Harrison, Georgia’s Kearis Jackson, Maryland’s Jacob Copeland, and Baylor’s Gavin Holmes in undrafted free agency after the draft. Dowell earned his draft slot after racking up over 1,000 receiving yards for the Skyhawks in 2022. Harrison posted career highs in receptions (52), receiving yards (604), and touchdowns (4) last year in his third season with the Beavers after transferring from Florida State. Copeland’s best season came when he was in Gainesville and caught 41 balls for 642 yards and four touchdowns. He failed to improve upon that performance in a grad transfer season with the Terrapins. Jackson never quite lived up to the billing of his high recruiting ranking. His strongest season came in 2020 when he caught 36 passes for 514 yards and three touchdowns. Holmes was a bit of a deep ball threat for the Bears last year, catching 27 balls for 521 yards and four touchdowns.

It’s fair to say that the room lacks established star power and experience. Moore, Burks, and Westbrook-Ikhine are the obvious leaders of the group with no changes moving forward. It helps to return star running back Derrick Henry as the focus of the offense and tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo, who finished second on the team last season with 450 receiving yards. Otherwise, it’s not easy to be as confident as Kelly in what quarterback Ryan Tannehill has to work with in 2023.

Titans Rule Out Several Players For Sunday’s Game

The Titans will be without a handful of significant players for tomorrow’s game against the Jaguars. Jim Wyatt of the team’s website tweets that wideout Treylon Burks, cornerback Kristian Fulton, and linebacker David Long are among those who have been ruled out for Sunday.

Burks suffered a concussion last weekend against the Eagles and missed practice throughout the week. The rookie first-round pick missed a chunk of the season while recovering from a turf toe injury. In the four games since his return to the field, Burks has hauled in 15 catches for 230 yards and one touchdown. The Titans will surely add another WR to the roster before tomorrow’s game, as Robert Woods, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and C.J. Board are currently the only healthy options on the roster.

Long, a former sixth-round, is having a career season, with the linebacker currently pacing the Titans with 86 tackles. Long didn’t practice this week after suffering a hamstring injury against Philly. Fulton, a former second-round pick, has started all 10 of his appearances in 2022. The defensive back suffered a groin injury last Sunday. His absence won’t be made any easier with cornerback Tre Avery also ruled out with a concussion.

The Titans will also be without defensive lineman Denico Autry and wide receiver C.J. Board against Jacksonville.

Titans Activate WR Treylon Burks, CB Elijah Molden

The Titans will likely have their starting quarterback available for tomorrow’s game against the Broncos. Their offense will also have a key piece back in the fold in time for the contest.

The Titans announced on Saturday that wideout Treylon Burks has been activated from IR. That is in line with what was expected, after the team designated him to return earlier this week. The first-round rookie should have an immediate role available once again when he suits up tomorrow.

Burks played in each of the team’s first four games this season, after he was unavailable at times during the offseason. He logged a snap share just over 50% during that stretch, making 10 catches for 129 scoreless yards. The Arkansas alum was expected to have a slow start to his NFL career, in part due to the missed time in the spring, but also his unique skillset and usage in college. The Titans rank 31st in the league with an average of 155 passing yards per game, so his return will be a welcomed sight.

The same holds true of Elijah Molden, whom the team has also activated in time for Sunday’s game. The second-year cornerback has yet to play this season, but showed promise as a rookie. The third-rounder took on a starting role, registering 60 tackles, one interception and four pass breakups. He had been designated for return last week as well, making his activation little surprise. Molden will provide a boost to the league’s 30th-ranked pass defense.

To make room for those two additions, the Titans moved a pair of players onto IR. One of them is linebacker Zach Cunningham, who has already missed significant time this season. The former Texan immediately took on a starting role after Tennessee claimed him off waivers last December, and did the same this year with 24 tackles. Cunningham missed three games earlier in the campaign, and will again be sidelined as he recovers from an elbow injury.

Undrafted rookie defensive back Josh Thompson has also been placed on IR. He, like Cunningham, will be unavailable for at least the next four games. Tennessee has five IR activations remaining for the season.

Titans Designate Treylon Burks For Return

The wide receiver position has been an issue for the Titans this season. As three-year Titan A.J. Brown has made a major impact with the Eagles, his former team is coming off a game in which no wideout caught a pass.

The player tabbed to be Brown’s replacement is on his way back, however. Tennessee designated Treylon Burks for return on Wednesday. Previously shut down with turf toe, Burks has three weeks to be activated from IR.

Tennessee chose Burks in this year’s first round, and although the Arkansas product missed some time this offseason and did not emerge as a full-time player from the outset, he showed some promise before going down. Burks has 10 receptions for 129 yards in four games. Both he and fifth-round rookie Kyle Philips have missed the past several games. Philips is not yet eligible to return from IR. The Titans have seven of their eight injury activations remaining.

Mike Vrabel stopped short of confirming Burks will be back in Week 10 against the Broncos, but TennesseeTitans.com’s Jim Wyatt does expect the highly touted prospect to suit up when first eligible. Conditioning will be an issue the Titans monitor with Burks, Vrabel said (Twitter link). The Titans have just one player — Robert Woods — with more than 150 receiving yards this season. Woods’ first games with Tennesse have produced 250 yards.

While Ryan Tannehill‘s injury has led Malik Willis into the lineup, thus limiting the Titans significantly through the air, the team will need to see more production from its pass catchers down the stretch. Burks represents a key part of this equation.

Titans Place WR Treylon Burks On IR

Treylon Burks will be sidelined for at least the next four weeks. The Titans rookie wideout has been placed on injured reserve, according to Jim Wyatt of the team’s website.

The first-round rookie was injured during the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s win over the Colts. Burks was carted off the field and was later diagnosed with a turf toe injury. He had already been ruled out for this weekend, but the team is now sidelining him through the end of the month.

Following a standout career at Arkansas that saw him earn first-team All-SEC in 2021, Burks was selected with the 18th-overall pick in this year’s draft…the selection the Titans acquired after dealing A. J. Brown to the Eagles. Burks was relatively productive in his first two games, hauling in seven of his 11 targets for 102 yards. While he saw an uptick in offensive snaps during Week 3 and Week 4, he was limited to only three catches between the two games.

Veteran receiver Robert Woods will still guide the receivers room, but the team will have to dig into their depth chart for some reinforcement. Tennessee is also rostering the likes of Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Cody Hollister, and rookie Kyle Philips, with veteran Josh Gordon among the WRs on the Titans practice squad.

Meanwhile, the Titans have activated linebacker Monty Rice from the PUP to the active roster. The 2021 third-round pick had 30 tackles in 10 games (four starts) as a rookie, but his season ended early thanks to an ankle injury. He landed on PUP to start the 2022 campaign. The Titans also promoted receiver Dez Fitzpatrick and linebacker Joe Schobert from the practice squad.

WR Notes: Lions, Burks, Broncos, Giants

The Lions are leading the NFL in scoring, having hit 35 points in three of their four games. They did so Sunday without Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift and have been playing without their No. 12 overall draft choice all season. As expected, Jameson Williams will not return to practice when first eligible. Dan Campbell confirmed the first-round pick is improving but added “several weeks” remain before practices enter the equation, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Detroit has a Week 6 bye. Campbell said it will be “a good time after” that point before the team considers Williams practicing.

An Ohio State recruit who broke through after transferring to Alabama in 2021, Williams is rehabbing the ACL tear he sustained in the national championship game. The previously mentioned midseason return, which would give Williams nearly 10 months of rehab, may not quite cover it. But the Lions are understandably playing the long game here. They are not exactly primed to contend in 2022 and could have Williams under team control through 2026, via the fifth-year option. Once Williams’ practice window is opened, the Lions have 21 days to activate him from their reserve/NFI list.

Here is the latest from the receiver scene:

  • Turf toe will pause Treylon Burks‘ rookie season. While Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes the Titans receiver is not set to undergo surgery, he will miss time (Twitter link). This absence is expected to extend beyond a couple of weeks, per Pro Football Focus’ Doug Kyed. That would open the door to an IR stint. Turf toe can be a nagging issue, and this ailment has cropped up after Burks cleared some offseason hurdles to put together a somewhat promising start. Burks bounced on and off the field during the offseason for the Titans, with an asthma issue contributing to his missing minicamp. Despite the first-round pick not starting Tennessee’s opener, he caught seven passes for 102 yards over his team’s first two games. The Arkansas alum will look to build on that upon return.
  • Staying with the 2022 receiver draft class, the Commanders are set to be without their first-round pick for a stretch. A hamstring injury will likely sideline Jahan Dotson for at least two games, Ron Rivera said. Dotson has proven to be a solid contributor early, catching three touchdown passes in four weeks.
  • The Broncos, who have now lost two skill-position starters to season-ending ACL tears, are planning to elevate K.J. Hamler‘s role. Nathaniel Hackett said the 2020 second-round pick is a player the team must involve more in its game plans, via the Denver Post’s Parker Gabriel (on Twitter). Although Hamler caught a well-placed 55-yard pass in Week 4 to set up a Denver touchdown, he played four snaps in Las Vegas. Considering the Broncos are without Tim Patrick for the season, Hamler not seeing much action surprises. But the Penn State-developed speedster suffered an ACL tear and a hip injury — one the Broncos feared was a Bo Jackson-type malady — in Week 3 last season. With the team holding him out in Week 2 because of his previous injury, Hamler is still attempting to surmount that setback. During this process, the Broncos have used Kendall Hinton as their No. 3 wideout.
  • Sterling Shepard confirmed (via The Athletic’s Dan Duggan, on Twitter) he did not suffer any damage beyond his ACL tear, though the seventh-year Giants wideout estimated his tear actually occurred two plays before he went down. Shepard, who will undergo surgery this month, agreed to a pay cut to stay this offseason — which followed a 2021 Achilles tear. This latest injury could put the former second-round pick’s career in jeopardy.

Injury Notes: Taylor, Burks, Kamara, Gallup

Giants backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor exited today’s game with a concussion, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. Taylor was put into action when starting quarterback Daniel Jones was sidelined with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter of today’s win over the Bears.

Taylor had a rough showing, throwing an interception on his first possession under center, and, in the very next possession, sustaining a helmet-to-helmet hit from Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon that would remove him from the game. With both quarterbacks hobbled, the Giants were temporarily forced to utilize their emergency quarterback, starting running back Saquon Barkley.

Following Taylor’s exit, the Giants ran a couple of plays with Barkley leading a wildcat-style offense, with Jones serving as a decoy out wide. Jones would eventually return behind center, solely to hand the ball off to Barkley for the remainder of the game.

Jones claimed after the game that he was OK, so there’s a chance that he will be able to return for New York’s Week 5 matchup with the Packers in London. If Taylor, who will now go through the league’s soon-changing concussion protocol, is unable to play, the Giants have quarterback Davis Webb on the practice squad.

Here are a few more injury notes from Week 4 of the NFL season, starting with the loss of an AFC South rookie:

  • Titans rookie wide receiver Treylon Burks left today’s contest with the Colts almost immediately after sustaining a foot injury in the fourth quarter. “Almost” because, perhaps being unaware of the injury protocol in the NFL, Burks got stuck on the field for one more play while injured before he went to the ground and was able to leave the game. Burks eventually found his way to the sideline and was carted off to the locker room, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The first-round pick out of Arkansas was reportedly seen in a walking boot and on crutches after the game, according to Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com, but the severity of his injury has yet to be reported. So far this season, Burks and trade-acquisition Robert Woods have led the team in receiving, but neither has extremely eye-popping numbers through three weeks of play. Any absence by Burks would mean more snaps for Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Kyle Philips on offense.
  • Saints running back Alvin Kamara was officially ruled out early in the morning for most Americans before the team’s London matchup versus the Vikings. Kamara, who’s been dealing with rib issues, is reportedly “looking to get healthy for (the) long haul,” according to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football. In his absence, the Saints split carries between Mark Ingram and practice squad elevation Latavius Murray.
  • After tearing his ACL late in the 2021 season and having surgery in February, Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup made his season debut today against the Commanders. Gallup played sparingly but proved useful while available. On three targets, Gallup caught two balls for 24 yards and a touchdown.