Treylon Burks' rookie season with the Tennessee Titans was a trial by fire.
Heading into Year 2, Burks appears less burdened as he tries to fulfill the expectations of being a first-round pick who was asked to step in for the traded A.J. Brown.
"I would say I feel faster," Burks said on Tuesday, via the team’s official site, "because I can breathe."
Burks' first year got off to a rough start, as he struggled with asthma issues and failed the team's conditioning test at the start of training camp. Once he got on the field, he suffered a toe injury, battled inconsistency and was hurt by the Titans' quarterback situation after Ryan Tannehill was knocked out of the lineup due to injury.
But there also was some good last season. He caught 33 passes for 444 yards and one touchdown in 2022 in 11 games (six starts), displaying far more playmaking potential down the stretch. Burks believes that positive momentum, along with spending extra time at the facility conditioning and preparing mentally, should better prepare him for this upcoming season.
"My biggest thing was not repeating what I did last year coming into the offseason," Burks said. "I feel like I've mastered that and can keep going. I'm getting better with a lot of the formations and concepts of our new stuff, and just having fun, really. Just having fun, and not having that stress coming in as a rookie trying to prove this guy this, the coach this, just having fun now."
Although the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Burks isn't considered fast, he said he's running well and in great shape coming into the offseason program.
"I feel great," he said. "I'm running fast, not having any problems with breathing. Really just having fun, man. I am in a good place, state of mind, and I am just thankful.
"I have been here the whole offseason. I didn't go train at the beach or anything, I stayed here. I wanted to stay around the facility and bond, make a connection with the coaches but also get ahead on the things that I know I am going to be doing in the offseason."
Burks could be the Titans' No. 1 receiver this year. Robert Woods is gone, and the team didn't add much veteran talent other than Chris Moore. The draft also produced seventh-rounder Colton Dowell, but he and the team's undrafted free-agent wideouts can't be expected to push for that mantle.
So does Burks envision himself becoming WR1?
"I would just say my goal is to make plays for the team, be where I am supposed to be and be a great teammate." Burks said. "Play fast, be physical and be versatile."