Let’s just get this out of the way right off the top: Treylon Burks hunts hogs with a knife.
Burks, the wide receiver out of Arkansas, is hoping to be the first player at his position to come off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft. But for everything he has accomplished in Fayetteville — and all he hopes to accomplish in the NFL — Burks’ off-the-field exploits make him one of the more interesting people in attendance at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Hunting is a family affair for Burks. “I was just brought up in a (hunting) household, hunting and fishing was my thing,” Burks said. “Deer, fish, hogs, I hunt it all.” But it is the hogs that drew the most fascination from the media in attendance at his Wednesday press conference. Perhaps part of that fascination is because his description of getting ready for a hunt sounds a bit like preparing for a football game.
“You have to game plan before you go out there. I wear gloves, but you have to put vests and everything on the dogs to prepare them so they don’t get hurt.”
The dogs are a critical piece of the process, as well. Burks said that the dogs will help find and flush out the hogs, allowing the humans to finish the job: “Then we come up behind them and tackle them and take them down.” He even has a tattoo of his first dog, Zazu, on his left arm.
Once the job is finished, with a stab behind the front shoulder, Burks and his family will process the hog, using as much of the animal as possible. It’s a fascinating hobby for a likely future first-round draft pick, whose abilities on the field have him in the conversation as WR1.
Burks offers remarkable athleticism in his 6-foot-3 frame, packing impressive speed and explosiveness into a frame that he says plays best between 225 and 228 pounds. He will work out on Thursday afternoon along with the other wide receivers at the Combine, and plans to put on quite a show.
He’s no one-trick pony, either. Burks lined up all over the offense for the Razorbacks, playing on the perimeter, in the slot, and even in the backfield. As a result, comparisons to Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers are running rampant. Burks himself mentioned Samuel as a player he watches closely, in large part because of the similarities between their roles.
“I played everywhere in high school, and once I got to Arkansas, I just kept on playing that same role,” he said. “I watched a lot of Deebo Samuel, the way he plays running back, plays inside, outside ... I try to mimic my game after him.”
The two players share a bit of a similar role, but Burks is a bigger player than Samuel, who measured in at 5-foot-11 and 214 pounds at the 2019 Combine. Instead, A.J. Brown of the Tennessee Titans might be a closer physical comparison, as he came in at 6-foot-1 and 226 pounds that same year, right in Burks’ ideal weight range.
If he tests as well as expected on Thursday, don’t expect Burks to be available if the Green Bay Packers stand pat with the 28th overall selection. Acme Packing Company’s Tyler Brooke has Burks ranked as the top wideout in this class and a top-15 player overall, while NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has him as WR3 but still the 11th-best overall prospect in the class. Between his size, speed, and versatility — plus enormous hands that require size 4XL gloves — NFL teams will likely be drooling over his potential come draft day.
Burks can surely credit some of that explosive athleticism to a life spent chasing hogs through the forest.