4. Hakeem Butler (R)
College career stats: 34 games, 110 receptions, 2,149 yards, 18 touchdowns, 57.6% catch rate
Hakeem Butler is all about promise and potential. He has the upside to be game-changing, and the downside to of an NFL flameout. His comparisons from NFL pundits reflect that; Doug Farrar compared him to Mike Evans, while Lance Zierlein compared him to Danario Alexander.
If I were to bet on Butler being successful in the NFL or not, I would take the former. Yes, his 16.7% drop rate, per Pro Football Focus, is concerning. And he will need need to add to a mostly vertical route-tree, and he’s not too agile either. But, he has an uncanny blend of explosive athleticism, speed, size, physicality, and large catch radius.
At Iowa State, Butler produced SportsCenter worthy highlights weekly. It’s not too hard to see why. He measured in at 6-foot-5 and 227-pounds at the combine and continued to turn heads with his athletic testing. The receiver recorded a 4.48 second 40-yard-dash, 36-inch vertical, and 128-inch bench press reps; he says he’s a run 4.35 in front in front of an NFL team.
Butler has an absurd catch radius but is more than that. He’s physical as a route-runner, is a fantastic blocker, possesses excellent body control, knows how to gain leverage, and can create separation against press. Although he’ll need to develop his game, Butler is one of the more promising rookie receivers to enter the NFL.
And yes, this means the Cardinals got another steal. Butler was considered to be a late first or early second by many. Instead, he fell to their lap at No. 103 overall. Excellent value.