Titans looking for ways to justify keeping draft bust around

• The Titans are doing what they can to justify giving Treylon Burks a roster spot in 2024.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Treylon Burks (16) and Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla., Monday, Dec. 11, 2023.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Treylon Burks (16) and Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla., Monday, Dec. 11, 2023. / Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA

Jon Robinson did a good job of stacking the Tennesse Titans with talent in the late 2010s. However, he wasn't nearly as successful at the start of the decade, which is why he got the boot after the 2022 season. One of the most puzzling moves of his tenure was to trade star receiver AJ Brown on Draft Day. With the first-round pick they got, they chose Treylon Burks. So far, it's been a flop, and the Titans are making a desperate attempt to make it work.

New Tennessee head coach Brian Callahan recently told the media that Burks will need to play special teams if he wants to earn a roster spot in 2024.

That's not the kind of endorsement you want your first-round picks to get. While there's nothing inherently wrong with playing special teams, you would think the 18th overall pick in the draft would have a bigger impact.

So far, Burks has appeared in 22 games with 15 starts, hauling in 49 catches for 665 yards with one touchdown. Meanwhile, Brown has tallied 194 receptions for 2,952 yards with 18 touchdowns since being traded.

Had Burks turned into a playmaker, the trade wouldn't have looked as bad. But because he's been underwhelming, it looks downright awful. On the bright side, the Titans revamped their wide receiver corps this offseason.

In free agency, Tennessee signed Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd. The former will give them a vertical threat while the latter will line up in the slot. Then again, they wouldn't have probably poached Ridley from the Jags if Burks had become the player they expected when they drafted him.

The Jaguars had a Treylon Burks in K'Lavon Chaission

Treylon Burks' situation is reminiscent of pass rusher K'Lavon Chaisson, another first-round disappointment. Drafted 20th overall in 2020, Chaisson was expected to round out the Jaguars' pass-rush rotation. However, he was pressed into a bigger role when the front office traded Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue. He was overwhelmed.

To make matters worse, Chaisson had to switch from playing in a standup position to a three-point stance as a rookie. He moved back to outside linebacker in 2021. The lack of continuity stalled his development.

Chaisson got a clean slate when Doug Pederson became the head coach but couldn't take advantage of it. That year, he only appeared in 18 percent of the team's defensive snaps and was mostly relegated to special teams.

Surprisingly, Chaisson was the No. 3 behind Travon Walker and Josh Allen in 2023. But that was only because the Jaguars didn't have any other options. His impact as a pass rusher was minimal, though. Once again, he mostly got playing time on special teams. To nobody's surprise, the Jags didn't make an effort to re-sign him when he became a free agent.

But as underwhelming as Chaisson was, you could make the case Burks has been worse. At least, the former played his entire rookie deal. The latter is on a roster bubble just two years after being traded and may not make it to Year 4.

In the end, the Jaguars can empathize with their division foes. Like the Titans, they had to look for ways to get a first-round disappointment involved.

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