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.