Ranking the Arizona Cardinals 2019 rookies off of their NFL comparisons
5. Hakeem Butler – WR
Player comparisons: Mike Evans (Doug Farrar), Danario Alexander (Lance Zierlein), Plaxico Burress (Ryan Wilson), Demaryius Thomas (Matt Miller), Vincent Jackson (Mike Tanier)
This is the first of the comparison undersells made by Lance Zierlein, the second should come shortly. In his draft profile, Zierlein compared Butler to Danario Alexander, a big, fast, eventual NFL flameout. This would be the worst case.
As for the other comparisons; Mike Evans, Plaxico Burress, Demaryius Thomas, and Vincent Jackson, well, it leaves one wondering why Butler was available in the fourth. Doug Farrar of Touchdown Wire compared Butler to Evans, saying;
"In 2018, Butler led all draftable receivers with 19 receptions of 20 air yards or more, for 721 yards and four touchdowns. He’s a terrifying downfield receiver who needs to work on his ball security, route development and overall technique, but at his peak, he could be like Evans, one of the NFL’s most dangerous physical speed receivers"
Evans shares a similar build and game to Butler. Both are 6-foot-5 plus, with their greatest strengths coming from their ability to run vertical, and red zone, jump-ball skills. Evans is a two-time Pro-Bowler and is an ideal comparison.
The other players listed that include Demaryius Thomas, Plaxico Burress, and Vincent Jackson all share similar traits to Evans. Both Thomas and Jackson are multiple time Pro Bowlers, while Burress, CBS’ Ryan Wilson’s comparison is another solid comparison. He was a high-point ace and a true matchup nightmare during his playing days.
Ultimately, Butler projects as one of the highest upside options in the draft. He earned many first-round grades due to his rare blend of size and speed, but ultimately fell due to drop issues. However, he’s a perfect fit in the Cardinals offense that desperately needed speed and size; if he fixes his drop issues, he has the potential to be the next Mike Evans.