Wideout Hakeem Butler’s uninspiring offseason could make the Arizona Cardinals wonder if they made a mistake by drafting him
Back in April, the Arizona Cardinals believed that they had acquired one heck of a wide receiver. The club’s selection of Hakeem Butler drew rave reviews from many NFL Draft experts. Now, four months later, Arizona’s pick is not looking as desirable as it once did.
This past Sunday, Butler was placed on the squad’s injured reserve list with an avulsion fracture to his hand. The setback was basically the cherry on top for what has been a discouraging offseason for the Cards fourth-round draft pick. Kliff Kingsbury was hoping that Butler would play a big role in his “Air Raid” offense this fall, but that optimism has now been put on hold for a year.
Perhaps the Cardinals and their head coach had overrated the Iowa State University product a bit. Butler’s performance during the team’s training camp this summer could best be described as inconsistent. While the 6’5, 225 pounder would make the hard catches look easy, some of the less difficult receptions would inexplicably be dropped by the rookie.
Butler’s preseason statistics, or lack thereof, raised some eyebrows as well. In two exhibition games, the 23-year old managed to haul in just one pass for a measly six yards. Numbers that were nowhere near what Arizona general manager Steve Keim and his cohorts were expecting from the highly-touted Butler.
Fortunately for the Cards, the loss of Butler may not hurt Kingsbury’s scoring attack as much as one may think. The front office recently signed veteran Michael Crabtree, who’ll team with Larry Fitzgerald to give quarterback Kyler Murray two vastly experienced pass-catchers to throw to. The Cardinals also have several talented youngsters on their roster, a group that includes Christian Kirk, KeeSean Johnson, Trent Sherfield, Damiere Byrd, Andy Isabella and Pharoh Cooper.
For now, Butler will have to learn his craft from the sidelines. There’s no doubt that his career is off to a disappointing start. Butler needs to put 2019 behind him, and get ready to excel for Arizona for years to come.