Tennessee Titans treating Treylon Burks like an undrafted free agent

Tennessee Titans, Treylon Burks - (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Tennessee Titans, Treylon Burks - (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Tennessee Titans seem to be giving first-round pick Treylon Burks the undrafted free agent treatment. Should fans be concerned?

With one preseason game in the books, it looks like the Tennessee Titans may be a little displeased with first-round pick Treylon Burks, a wide receiver out of Arkansas. First-round picks are not exempt from playing in the preseason, but Burks played extensively in the Titans’ preseason opener, even into the fourth quarter.

That’s not common.

What’s rather uncommon is the way Burks’ preseason debut was approached. The Titans rested starting receivers Robert Woods and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, and Dez Fitzpatrick along with Racey McMath were the first receivers up after those guys. According to NBC Sports, it was fellow rookie and fifth-round pick Kyle Philips who came into the game in three-wide sets before the first-round pick Burks got onto the field.

Although Burks was a first-round pick, he seemingly got the treatment you would usually see teams give to undrafted free agents. He had one target, no catches, a drop, and a carry that went for short yardage.

What are the Titans doing here with their top rookie? The team may have felt backed into a corner, but the trade of AJ Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles for the selection that was ultimately used on Burks looks worse and worse by the day. Of course, it’s early and there’s really no reason to panic at this point. Burks has shown some good things in training camp practices in videos that have been shared but why do the Titans have Kyle Philips and even Dez Fitzpatrick or Racey McMath higher on the depth chart than their prized rookie?

Something’s not adding up here.

Burks has been running mostly with the backups at Titans training camp and all of this comes after there were some apparent conditioning issues for him back in the Spring.

What we saw from Burks at Arkansas was a player who looked like he could be the second coming of a Deebo Samuel type of player, but that transition to the NFL can be brutal even for the most talented prospects. Burks isn’t exempt to the rigors of the NFL but I think almost everyone expected to hear a lot more positive updates from him than we’ve actually ended up getting.

Meanwhile, Titans rookie quarterback Malik Willis — a third-round pick — was out there putting on a show for the fans on Thursday night.

It’s far too early to press the panic button on Treylon Burks. There’s no need to overreact at this point and he could still end up doing a lot of the things that many people assume he will do as far as potentially leading the Titans in receiving or perhaps leading rookie receivers in yards or touchdowns.

At this point, though, the Titans are putting Burks through the wringer just to crack the rotation. The fact that he’s playing deep into preseason games is an indicator that he’s probably needing as much time on task in the offense just executing his role as possible.

We’ll see how the Titans continue to utilize Burks going forward and whether or not this will end up just being something we look back on and laugh when Burks is lighting it up in the regular season.