WR Hakeem Butler: a great draft pick for the Bills

03/29/2019
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The Buffalo Bills have made a lot of noise during the early part of the offseason. Although the team has signed wide receivers Cole Beasley and John Brown, the Bills still need a true number one player at the position.

Many draft analysts have the Bills drafting a receiver at No. 9 overall during the 2019 NFL Draft. While that isn’t a stretch, the Bills could decide to go in another direction and select a receiver on day two. If that indeed is the case, Hakeem Butler from Iowa State makes the most sense for the Bills.

Butler has prototypical size at 6-foot-6 and 227 pounds, and he recorded one of the best seasons in Iowa State history in 2018. He smashed the Cyclones’ school record for receiving yards in a season with 1,318 and tallied 60 receptions for nine touchdowns. Pro Football Focus gave Butler an 82 grade for his 789 snaps last season.

At the NFL Combine last month, Butler ran a 4.4 40-yard dash. He also posted a 36-inch vertical jump, 35 1/4 inch arms and 10 3/4 inch hands.

 

So not only does Butler have the size NFL teams love in a receiver, but he also has the speed to separate from defensive backs. Butler’s also has unique strength to win contested deep balls in traffic and bring them down, create unusual plays, and take them to the house for long touchdowns. On deep passes of 20 yards or more, Butler ranked first in the country with 19 in 2018.

 

So with all of his talent, why is Butler projected as a second round pick? He isn’t the best route runner. At times while at Iowa State, his routes were just awkward. Also, Butler’s hands were inconsistent at times; he dropped 15.2% of his targets which was the 6th most among wide receivers. Butler is still a work in progress, but his skill and potential are worth developing, especially if the Bills can get him in round two.

The Bills have a game-breaking receiver in Brown, and they have an excellent slot receiver in Beasley. Now it’s time to find that mismatch nightmare, and that’s precisely what Butler has the potential to be in the NFL.

There’s a lot to love about Butler’s game and the potential he can bring to the Bills’ offense. He has one of the best athletic profiles ever registered, posting a 9.77 RAS. That athleticism on a 6-foot-5 plus frame with an 83 3/8 wingspan, is a tough matchup for defensive backs. But he can also be moved around the formation. Butler was utilized in the slot where he caught 30 passes for 578 yards and 4 touchdowns. The deep threat ability from the slot allowed him to average 15.62 yards per attempt when inside. So he will help lift coverage with his speed or show his numbers underneath and use that wingspan to reel in passes for his QB. The athletic freak from Iowa State will not only make Brian Daboll’s job easier, but he will also would be a nice security blanket for Josh Allen.

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