When he wasn't playing for Hogs, he hunted them

INDIANAPOLIS — There's a case to be made that Arkansas' Treylon Burks might be the best wide receiver prospect in the 2022 NFL draft.

No other receiver boasts his dimensions — north of 6-foot-2 and a healthy 225 pounds, or more.

Burks was unleashed in college as an inside and outside receiver, and also as a runner, returner and passer.

Asked about his speed Wednesday, Burks said the 40-yard dash was the element of the NFL scouting combine he was most anticipating.

But if you're not yet convinced Burks is that guy, ask yourself this: How many other receivers do all these things and also can go out and kill a hog?

Yes, like an actual feral hog. Oh, and Burks hunted them with knives growing up. Someone alert Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell that his WR1 has entered the building.

"You have to go out there with dogs, and the dogs find them and we come up behind them and tackle them and take them out," said Burks, talking like a man surprised that other kids didn't grow up this way.

Burks even said there's an element of hunting that crosses over with football. It's not something you just roll out of bed and do, Burks said. You need preparation and a good approach.

"It depends on how you attack [the hog]," Burks said. "You have to game plan before you even go out there. Know exactly where they’re going to be. You have to put vests on the dogs to make sure they don’t get hurt."

Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks used his giant hands and dynamic athleticism to turn in three impressive college seasons. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks used his giant hands and dynamic athleticism to turn in three impressive college seasons. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

If that frivolity isn't enough to sway you, or if animal blood and guts gets you squeamish, can we talk instead about Burks' hand size? Yes, it's hand-size season in the NFL, folks, and Burks already has claimed the unofficial title.

He wears size XXXXL gloves. That's four X's.

Nike makes gloves up to only 3XL, so Burks required custom gloves. When he ran out, he'd squeeze into some XXXLs that were lying around and frequently bust through the fingers.

Former Georgia Tech wideout DeAndre Smelter is believed to hold the hand-size high-water mark at the combine over the past 20-plus years at 11 inches. We need to be on ready alert for a new record. (Burks and the other receivers had not yet measured as of Wednesday morning.)

And yes, glad you asked: Burks uses those giant hands to catch footballs well. According to Pro Football Focus, Burks was credited with a mere 12 drops over the past three seasons on a combined 211 targets (144 catches). Most important, he averaged more than 16 yards per catch in each of those three seasons.

This is a big man who can scoot. He also averaged 5.8 yards on 38 career rush attempts, 10.2 yards on punt returns and 20.4 yards on kickoff returns. Burks also threw seven passes in college, although he was less successful on those (0-for-7, two INTs).

So he's not perfect. But It's a role he said he's had since high school. Burks said his versatility is what makes him the best all-around receiver in this year's class.

"I would say just my physicality, able to be used at multiple positions," he said. "I can play outside receiver, inside receiver and running back. It doesn’t matter. That sets me apart from everybody else."

The NFL wide receiver Treylon Burks mimics his game after

Burks is either a bigger Deebo Samuel or a slightly slower Cordarrelle Patterson, depending on whom you ask. There also will be some A.J. Brown comps out there for Burks' style of play.

He has heard the Samuel comps and isn't at all shying away from them. In fact, he'd more than embrace that type of role in the NFL.

"I’ve watched a lot of Deebo Samuel," Burks said, "just the way he plays running back, inside, outside. That’s who I try to mimic game after."

Samuel was used similarly at South Carolina and has seen his jack-of-all-trades role evolve more with the San Francisco 49ers.

That said, Burks, who lined up inside far more often than not in college, said he preferred playing outside.

"Going inside, you’re getting touched more than you will outside because there’s a linebacker over the top and a safety right past the linebacker, so actually going outside is a little easier," he said.

Burks wants to play in the 225-to-228-pound range — that's where the sweet spot where he believes his physicality won't suffer and his speed isn't lost. He wouldn't tip his hand with his 40-yard dash predictions, but Burks projected confidence, suggesting that onlookers might be surprised how fast a player can run at that weight.

"We’ll just have to wait to see that," Burks said smiling.

It might be among the more fascinating combine numbers we see this week. After we find out Burks' official hand size, that is.

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