Hakeem Butler, Iowa State
College stats (3 seasons): 110 receptions, 2,149 yards, 18 touchdowns
If Kliff Kingsbury wants to make the Arizona Cardinals’ offense go vertical, Hakeem Butler could be a perfect fit. He’s simply built to stretch the field and make big-time catches.
Butler has both the height (6-5) and the speed (4.45 second 40-yard-dash) to be both an effective field-stretcher and red zone target in the big leagues. The former Iowa State Cyclone is a headache to defend in contested catch situations due to that height, jump-ball ability (36-inch vertical), and good body control as well.
His ability to pluck the ball out of the air gives me flashes of Randy Moss, while his toe drag swag tendencies also give me some Deandre Hopkins vibes. He’s also improved his game after the catch as he uses his functional athleticism and length to deny defenders space. Against press coverage, he tends to use his length to his advantage but has an underrated ability to beat bigger more physical cornerbacks with developed footwork.
However, there are some obvious knocks to his game. His lack of quickness and fluidity in his breaks are apparent and it should result in him seeing a compacted route-tree that features mostly vertical routes. Per Pro Football Focus, his lower career catch rate of 57.6% and 17 drops are also concerning statistics. But, don’t be surprised to see a team fall in love with his potential to dominate as a vertical receiver.