Even if Calvin Ridley elects to return next season - and that seems doubtful - the Atlanta Falcons need weapons. Despite adding a Pro Bowl tight end in Kyle Pitts with the No. 4 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, there's always need for more playmakers on offense.
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith helped developed Tennessee Titans' standout wide receiver A.J. Brown into a top-tier target during Smith's two seasons as the offensive coordinator.
Is that the piece missing before his Atlanta offense takes flight?
If Atlanta is hopeful to find a Brown replica, it's hard to overlook Arkansas' Treylon Burks. Both players are equipped with the same skills that have changed the game for their respective teams.
Burks, the 6-3, 225-pound target for the Razorbacks, has risen up mock draft boards from an early Day 2 selection to near consensus top-15 status. His physical demeanor, sure-fire hands and premier route-running skills put him in place to maybe be the first receiver selected in April's draft.
The Falcons, who currently own the eighth pick, could very well utilize him in a similar fashion to that of Brown in Nashville.
Burks finished his final season with the Razorbacks with 66 catches for 1,104 yards and 12 total touchdowns. His 16.7 yards per catch ranked third among all receivers in the SEC, while his receiving yards ranked fourth in the conference.
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Burks' aggressive play style is perhaps his biggest attribute. Arm tackles aren't enough to stop him in the open field after the catch. Against man coverage, Burks wins with his size in contested catches, making 50/50 balls actually feel more like 80/20 in his favor.
Since being drafted out of Ole Miss, Brown has become one of the league's top playmakers. A two-time 1,000-yard receiver, Brown has a career average of 16.2 yards per catch in three seasons. He also recorded at least 52 catches and five touchdowns per season.
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah recently mocked Burks to Atlanta, comparing him to Brown based off size and the ability to separate in coverage. Pro Football Focus' Doug Kyed sees Burks' skills as a mirror to a different name from the 2019 wide receiver class: San Francisco 49ers Deebo Samuel .
Samuel, who considers himself a "wide back" rather than receiver, recorded 16 rushes for 365 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 6.2 yards per run. Burks was utilized in the run game on jet sweeps and reverses for Kendal Briles' offense, tallying 14 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown.
The Falcons are hopeful in signing fellow "wide back" Cordarrelle Patterson to a long-term deal after a breakout season. Even if Patterson and Ridley were to return, having a plethora of skill players will certainly enhance Atlanta's chances of joining the front-runners in the NFC for hopes of winning a Super Bowl in 2023.
The Falcons need playmakers if they hope to run it back with Matt Ryan. Burks is simply that, and Atlanta should be interested in when on the clock.