Hakeem Butler: My Offensive Draft Crush

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Every draft comes with players you find yourself wanting the Chiefs to draft, am I right? First round draft picks are always coveted and this year is no different, with how deep this draft is in the defensive area, at 29 the Chiefs options are wide open. Defense being the heavy favorite of the fans for the first round pick, I started looking at this draft and I saw the offensive possibilities. Teams in front of the Chiefs are being mocked defensive players and quarterbacks, so wide receivers are likely to start falling down the draft board.

My co-film analyst Tre and I have found our guys, he’s on the N’Keal Harry train, and I love Harry, I think he is one of the most NFL ready receivers in this draft. But I think that he is closer to his ceiling than NFL teams would like. Now, Hakeem Butler, that’s a player you can help rein in the rest of his craft and turn into a star in the NFL. Butler is nearly 6’6”, 230 pounds and ran a 4.48 forty yard dash at the combine. He is taller and faster than Harry and was more productive in his final year at Iowa State with three different quarterbacks and 13 less receptions. The best part about all of this? He runs every route in the route tree, and is still a raw route runner. Let’s start this off with a little warm up, shall we?

This is something I desperately want Mahomes to work on, back shoulder throws to the sideline away from defenders. Butler is an elite ball tracker, outside of his big play ability it’s one of his best qualities. He is always looking for the ball, no matter what the situation is. He is running a go route and he’s got the corner running full speed to keep up with Butler. Then he has the ability to come back to the ball on a dime and make the catch at the sideline for a big play.

Butler played all over the offensive formation at Iowa State, and that should make him attractive to the Chiefs because we all know that Andy Reid loves to use his receivers everywhere. He is very dangerous from the slot, and would make all verticals in this offense even more fun to watch. As an added bonus not only is he big, he plays BIG.

It’s hard to tell if Butler is running a long hitch route or a post route, but he’s playing out of the slot and runs up the seam and cuts after 15 yards to make the contested catch. That’s when the show starts. He throws off the initial defending corner, cuts back and spins off another then accelerates toward the end zone. He is a bulldozer in the open field, two other defenders catch up to him and he just throws them off of him and goes and scores a touchdown.

Watching Butler after the catch is truly something special, he demands from himself to get to the end zone at all costs. He bullies defenders, and still has the speed to run away from guys after shrugging them off. He has some trouble with consistently catching the ball, but looking at what he does with it in his hands makes you want to draft him. The physicality he possesses shows itself through all aspects of his game, including one of the areas Reid values highly, blocking.

Butler doesn’t shy away from blocks, in fact, he is a willing and able blocker. Not only is he looking to block, he wants to punish guys. Here, he engages the corner and although he loses his balance for a moment but as soon as he gets it back he is looking to get the upper hand. As soon as he does, he looks to drive the corner to the ground. I love watching that out of a receiver.

Butler has a lot of special qualities that make him an attractive option for teams, his size, speed, physicality, and nose for the end zone all among them. He put up 1300 yards on 60 receptions in 2018. That’s over 22 yards per reception, so the big play potential is clearly a huge part of his game. But his lateral agility is somewhat lacking.

Butler doesn’t run a bad out route here, but it’s more about the move after the catch I want to focus on. He labors out of his cut and you can see how awkward he looks, even though he makes the defender miss. He isn’t too fast out of his cut back either; he probably doesn’t get the first down here anyway but the break is somewhat concerning.

Butler isn’t great at the line of scrimmage due to this, and that can cause corners to stay with him longer than he wants and that results in him having to make more contested catches. But imagine him working on his line of scrimmage prowess with Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins? He could be a monster in the making.

I know the focus is on defense in this draft for the Chiefs, but at 29 I don’t think the Chiefs need to reach for a player. Unless they are going to trade up, some offensive options are going to be available in the first round and Hakeem Butler could make this offense even more unstoppable than it was in 2018. It does take a while to learn the offense, but with that said, his raw big play ability is exactly what this offense is built around.

The more I think about it, the more tempted I become to take Butler at 29 if he is there, no matter what. The #score100 campaign would be in full swing and I would be leading the charge. Just think about it. Harry or Butler? It’s a pretty easy choice for me.

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Trigrumps
Trigrumps

If we go receiver early I would prefer McClaruin or Paris Campbell. McClaurin is my personal favorite receiver in the draft and Campbell apparently answered a lot of questions of his route running at his pro day. I feel like Andy could be more flexible with those two than with Butler.

Anthony Stratton

Hmmmm….Tre or Dan…
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Mattl
Mattl

Great write-up. I love Butler, but his drops concern me. We all know how Demetrius Harris drove us crazy with 3rd down drops. On the other hand, Butler’s upside is crazy high. He had a horrible QB at Iowa State AND was the #1 receiving target for defenders, yet still put up elite numbers. To think that he’d be our #3 or #4 receiving threat and have a super-accurate QB throwing him the ball….man, the sky’s the limit.

I’ve become more and more intrigued with Kelvin Harmon. Doesn’t have the big-play ability of Butler, but is big and super-intense both fighting for the ball and blocking. I think he’s got Pro Bowl potential and has a higher floor than Butler but a lower ceiling.

Butler’s elite potential wins me over though – the idea of Mahomes having a target like Butler is amazing.

Berserker
Berserker

The thing I’d look for in a receiver, is how he does on scramble drills. That’s something Reid just praised Robinson for, so I’m sure that they are scouting for it. And it’s going to be a huge part of our offense for the next several years.

I don’t think that’s something you can project based on other traits. I think you have to actually see the receiver in those situations, and see whether he is aware enough, smart enough, and has enough initiative to go create an opening for a scrambling QB.

BleedingRedAndGold

As for Butler, guy’s at tall as Kelce, and only 30 pounds lighter, so I can see some mismatch potential with both on the field. ‘Most every team has a guy who’s good at covering big receivers, but I wonder how fast that drops away if you have two big, capable receivers on the field at once. Not to mention the two of them blocking for a WR screen for someone like Hill or Watkins, who are both good YAC guys.

I get everyone’s panicking about the D regarding the draft, but an all-D draft, or even all-D for the first 4 rounds is short-sighted. Follow that path, and one side of the ball will always be falling apart and demanding draft priority, which isn’t a good way to build for the longer term. Also, ‘Badger’s not replacing EB29, he’s filling the void that EB left in last season’s D. I’m fine with moving on from Sutton, but without EB, he was caught without someone to call adjustments. That’s a huge void in last year’s D.

Berserker
Berserker

Yeah, you’re not wrong about drafting all-defense. Or all-offense, for that matter. That’ll make your team cyclic, which might be Chiefs fans’ longest running complaint about this team….talking about how we seem to get a great defense for a few years, and then a great offense for a few years, but never be good on both sides of the ball at the same time.

And, having spent nearly all of last year’s draft on defense already, our offensive stockroom could be starting to get a little bit empty. I think we can see that when we think about who could replace Hill or Watkins, or Kelce, or Fisher or Schwartz, if/when any of those guys tweaks an ankle or something. Two defensive drafts in a row, and the lack of offensive developmental talent could become an outright emergency.

Having said that, I’m still absolutely sure that we need to spend 3 of our first 4 draft picks on defense this year. We just have such a talent deficiency on that side of the ball right now. But if we actually do that, then I would be completely OK with using the entire back-half of the draft to restock the offense.

BleedingRedAndGold

Main reason I can see wanting a WR early, and especially a good YAC guy like Butler, is that Watkins is expensive, even if we get a full 16-game season out of him. If Butler can fill that role in the ’20 season, he can replace Watkins at a much cheaper cap price. And if he doesn’t really work out by then, there’ll be next year’s draft and a ton of opportunities WRT free agency.

That said, I agree with you to the extent that if that go WR in Rd. 1, they should prolly go D on the next 2-3 picks. If CB is as deep as they’re saying, oughta be able to get a serviceable one in the 2nd. So my current view is Edge or WR/TE Rd. one, DB next after those, and onward. It just struck me, though, that rather than trading up in the 1st, trading one of the Rd. 2 spots packaged with a later round pick to move up in that round. Could be a tactic to grab someone early-ish at a better price that way, but depends on trade partners.

Berserker
Berserker

Yeah, our WR situation looks great right now, but depth is about as thin as it gets. That whole thing could fall apart any minute seems like. And it’s not built for the long term at all.

Mel and Todd were just yesterday talking about how many colleges lately have been using CBs in ways that make it tough to scout how those CBs will perform in the pros. And that has resulted in some 1st-2nd round CBs being over-drafted simply because their programs had them working in a more NFL-similar system that made them easier to scout. So, lately, there has been an increasing number of 2nd-3rd round CBs who outperformed their draft status.

So, I wouldn’t be surprised if we draft a S before we draft a CB this year. There are a lot of 6’0″ and taller CBs this year who fall into the 2nd tier of prospects, and who could fit our need for a boundary defender.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we trade up in round 2. There can be a big difference in the kinds of prospects that are available at the top of round 2 vs the end of that round.

BleedingRedAndGold

Safety before CB? Maybe, but to me, it all depends on the availability of a first-game starting Edge* rusher. Still hopeful for KPass, but I’m not willing to trust that he can be brought along. Depends on what Spags’ crew sees in him, but I’m no mind reader. And, of course, depends on how things shake out on Day 1. Given that there are so many mocks out on the ‘net, high probability that one of them will nail it – but which one? There’s the rub.

Yep, and depending, might be able to get more value for a lower cost than trading up in the first. Heh, even when we were wrangling yesterday, I noticed that our draft priorities were pretty similar.

BleedingRedAndGold

*I know the NFL convention is to use all caps for Edge, but I don’t like it grammatically. All-caps is for initials, like NFL, WR, and RB, etc.; that and acronyms, such as LASER, TASER, and RADAR (all of which are no longer done that way because they have become common words, but that’s beside the point, and I don’t normally all-cap them, either.) Using “EDGE” instead of Edge is purely cosmetic. Bah on that convention.

Berserker
Berserker

I’m with you on the “EDGE” (sic) thing. It’s made up solely out of immediate convenience, and it’s inconsistent with precedent, and a conservative like me just ain’t having that.

It should be an acronym, like the other positions. Maybe ER for Edge Rusher?

BleedingRedAndGold

Both you and Tre have good WR write-ups, though I admit to some bias, since I have been advocating for them to draft the BOVA (best overall value available) in round 1. Meaning I’d rather see them grab an offense player who is a great value over a a good or decent value player on the defense. I do wonder about his agility, though. Are you saying it’s very trainable, or are his hips more of a non-Newtonian fluid? 😉

That said, if it’s value = value, offense vs. defense at 29, I’d rather see them go D for an Edge or DB player. All depends on the relative value, maybe with a touch of talent drop-off regarding which players will be available later. WRT trading up, I have no opinion, because there are too many unknown variables for fan analysis.

N.B.*, Your favorite roving copy editor strikes again, but just to remove a “g”. Kings need to continue reign to control others., while horses need reins for others to control them. You might want to rein your use of “reign” in a bit, right? 😉

BleedingRedAndGold

*N. B. stands for “nota bene”, literally “note well”, but given the nature of Latin can also be interpreted as “It’s good to note”, among other variations. It’s no wonder that there’s an old Italian saying, roughly “Every translation involves an act of betrayal”.

And now you know something you probably never cared about knowing, lol.

KC_SunDevil
KC_SunDevil

Love that line. Stolen

BleedingRedAndGold

`If you’re talki9ng the translation line, ya can’t hardly steal it from me, as I stole it from elsewhere, lol. Besides, I love sharing knowledge.

KC_SunDevil
KC_SunDevil

Just because you’re not a holder in due course doesn’t mean I can’t steal it from you. Ask Seth

BleedingRedAndGold

lol

SCKSChief
SCKSChief

Love Butler. Dude is legit. Exactly what this offense needs…especially given that Watkins is likely not going to be on the roster very long, even when productive.

stjoechief
stjoechief

The ability to take an offensive player in the first two rounds is why I’m hoping Veach doesn’t give up one of this year’s second rounders to trade up. I’d be ecstatic with a combination of EDGE, CB and either WR or TE with the first three picks.

MidKan Chiefs Lifer
MidKan Chiefs Lifer

If ole Veach can whip up a Peterson trade *or one like it) I think this would be on point. Reason being if we don’t start picking up offensive talent here and there we will be totally relying on Mahomes magic every play instead of giving him the help he needs. A WR or TE that slides due to other teams filling position of need would be ok by me.

Slayer0810
Slayer0810

The #score100 campaign is how we have a defense that allows 8 and 6 minute drives and gives the offense three total possession opportunities in a half. Doesn’t matter how great the offense is if the defense can’t get off the field.

sydenham
sydenham

Now if the format were to be that each team gets 30 minutes of offence to see how many points they could put on the board…

MidKan Chiefs Lifer
MidKan Chiefs Lifer

I’m not sure that’s true I think the reason are defense has been lack luster is because players haven’t worked out as well as we hope when we gave them big contracts. Berry has been hurt, Houston seemed to be pretty good last year but he has also been hurt, Ford has had some injuries and likely scared the team from keeping him, Hitchens has been ungood, Sorenson is overpaid.

I guess what I’m saying is if our defense sucked because we were on the #scored100 campaign then it would mean that we had been putting all our resources into offensive players. But in reality we have put a lot of our resources into defensive players lately. Almost the entire last draft and our first pick in 2 of the last 3 drafts have been defensive. In reality we have managed the offensive side if the ball better up to this point, by getting better value out of out picks and signing many of the players to more team friendly deals (see Kelce and Schwartz).

3rdnlong
3rdnlong

Um. No thanks. I wouldn’t be opposed to getting a WR this draft. But 3rd Rd or later is my thought. Someone who does excellent route running even if they’re not the fastest. Somebody like Hunter Renfrow in the 5th.

KC_SunDevil
KC_SunDevil

For round 1 in particular I am also on the BDPA bandwagon

Slayer0810
Slayer0810

Yeah, there’s definitely room to argue about which defensive position we need more (I’m in the ILB camp I think), but we could draft literally any defensive position and it would probably be an upgrade to what we currently have. Our defense just has so many holes.