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Should NY Jets target Treylon Burks in a trade?

Treylon Burks, Titans, NY Jets, Trade, Rumors
Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans, New York Jets, Getty Images

Should the New York Jets buy low on Titans WR Treylon Burks?

The New York Jets’ wide receiver room is… well, complicated.

On paper, it’s significantly improved from the 2023 lows that saw undrafted free agent Xavier Gipson play the starting slot receiver for a good chunk of the season. Adding Mike Williams and Malachi Corley should be significant insurance to draw coverage away from Garrett Wilson.

At the same time, there are many questions surrounding the unit. Williams is coming off a torn ACL and entering his age-30 season. Will he be healthy? Will he decline precipitously? Possession receivers who thrive on contested-catch ability tend to fall off without warning, and with his injury, that’s certainly a risk for Williams.

Corley, meanwhile, is a raw route-runner who ran a limited route tree against inferior college competition. He has some potential to be more than a YAC threat, but his inconsistent hands and route-running make him an unknown at the NFL level. He certainly could improve, but it’s not close to definite that he will.

And what of Allen Lazard? Jets fans are totally done with the Aaron Rodgers transplant, whose roster spot with the Jets is guaranteed simply because of his atrocious contract that guarantees his $10 million 2023 base salary. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Lazard was the NFL’s worst receiver in 2023, as he ranked dead last in yards per route run. Still, Lazard is likely entrenched as a starter in 11 personnel, at least for now. Even if Williams is fully healthy, the Jets are one injury away from being forced to rely on Lazard as a starter even if Corley cracks the starting lineup.

It’s the reliance on Lazard that has many Jets fans wishing for another receiver addition. The most likely options went off the free agent market recently, as D.J. Chark and Odell Beckham Jr. signed one-year deals elsewhere. The only other realistic free agent target seems to be Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who remains a possibility.

Still, what if the Jets explored the trade market? The Tennessee Titans just signed slot receiver Tyler Boyd, solidifying their starting receiving corps alongside DeAndre Hopkins and Calvin Ridley. That leaves Treylon Burks, the team’s 2022 first-round pick who has severely disappointed, definitively on the outside looking in. Would the Titans trade the former No. 18 overall pick to try to salvage something from their investment? If so, should the Jets be in?

Draft pedigree

Despite his lofty draft status, Burks has a red mark on his profile from Joe Blewett’s predraft evaluation of him. These are the weaknesses Blewett listed.

  • Route running
  • Schemed open more than he got open
  • A lot of free releases
  • Uses size/strength over technique too often
  • Lacks consistent blocking effort
  • Hand usage can clean up to defeat CB
  • Can be more forceful/sell drive phase better
  • Needs to commit to stop/break and pivot steps in routes
  • Didn’t defeat press consistently
  • Didn’t run the full route tree
  • Can bow routes out
  • Doesn’t eat up enough space when threatening CB
  • Spacing in routes
  • Tries to one-hand catch when he can use two hands
  • Some drops
  • Lunges into stop steps
  • Rounded square cuts
  • Lots of dead time on back-breaking routes
  • Not as strong of a contested-catcher over the middle
  • Leans out of breaks
  • Needs to work short stems more
  • Can show frustration in body language
  • Needs more urgency/pace in routes
  • His effort is hot and cold
  • Limited release package
  • Loses balance too often
  • YAC is good but not great
  • Used in the backfield but not as a true running back

If route-running is the first big weakness for a first-round pick, that’s a big red flag. Other draft evaluations of Burks indicated that he would succeed in the NFL only as a big slot, rather like most receivers who struggle against man coverage (23rd percentile success rate vs. man, per Reception Perception).

Then again, perhaps Burks wasn’t worth a first-round pick but is still worth adding on the cheap.

By the numbers

Burks’ first two seasons in the NFL have labeled him a bust. He started out on the wrong foot by running out of gas in rookie minicamp and OTAs. A college coach accused him of lacking conditioning.

Across two seasons, Burks has accumulated just 49 receptions for 665 yards and 2 touchdowns in 22 games. That’s an average of 2.2 catches for 30 yards and 0.09 touchdowns per game, or 37.9 catches for 514 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per 17 games. His 0.83 yards per route run in 2023 ranked 100th out of 113 receivers with at least 29 targets, and his 20% drop rate ranked last. The bottom truly fell out in his second season.

That being said, Burks wasn’t quite as bad statistically as a rookie. His 1.28 yards per route run ranked 58th out of 80 receivers (min. 50 targets). While that’s significantly below average (28th percentile), it’s a viable mark for a depth receiver.


As stated earlier, Burks struggles mightily against man coverage. Therefore, his ideal placement in the NFL is the slot, where he can gain free releases. The Jets already have a crowded slot room: Wilson, Corley, Lazard, and Gipson could all command slot snaps. It’s difficult to say that Burks is an upgrade over any of them, even Lazard and Gipson.

Even for a late-round pick, trading for Burks wouldn’t make much sense. He hasn’t shown he can play outside in the NFL. The Jets didn’t seem to show any interest in Boyd before he signed with Tennessee for $4.5 million, so why would they give up any draft capital for a player who is far worse?

Therefore, on the whole, the answer is obvious. Hard pass on Treylon Burks.

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