When the Arizona Cardinals opened up day three of the 2019 NFL Draft, they had to have a plan in place... and likely just threw that plan out the window.
It would have been hard before the start of the 2019 NFL Draft to fathom a scenario where Hakeem Butler was available in the fourth round, but the Cardinals were fortunate and had him there.
He was the perfect fit for what the Cardinals offense needed. A big body target with the ability to go up and win contested catches:
Notable contested catch percentages, draft-eligible WRs:— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) March 27, 2019
Gary Jennings 54.0%
N'Keal Harry 53.2
Kelvin Harmon 51.4
A.J. Brown 51.3
JJ Arcega-Whiteside 49.4
Hakeem Butler 45.2
Anthony Johnson 43.4
Deebo Samuel 37.9
Andy Isabella 34.8
Emanuel Hall 25.0
Marquise Brown 21.7@PFF
That is a big deal for a big wide receiver. It is not just about being big, but knowing how to use that size.
Butler seemed to find that heading into his final collegiate season.
Hakeem Butler is a size-speed freak who dominated in 2018 at 6-5, 227lbs:— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) March 24, 2019
• 55% of his receptions gained 20+ yards, highest rate in class
• Leads class in YPR, 5th in yards gained per route run (PFF)
• Tested as 98th percentile athlete in height-adjusted forty yard dash
PFF's Top 3 slot WRs via Yards Per Route Run...— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) March 20, 2019
1. Marquise Brown
2. Hakeem Butler
3. Deebo Samuel
Talk about 3 completely different size, style, skillset WRs. There is no prototype for a player winning over the middle of the field.
So, why would the size, speed athlete who can win in multiple spots fall?
Simple, his hands.
Why is WR Hakeem Butler still on the board entering Day 3? Good numbers & size (6-5, 227).— Nick Veronica (@NickVeronica) April 27, 2019
Seems to have some trouble with the catching. Which is not ideal for a professional pass catcher. PFF listed his drop rate at 15.5%.
If he can improve on that, everything else looks good pic.twitter.com/Kdf5Ir3zDS
Drops are an issue and something we saw with J.J. Nelson that caused him to never take the next step, but they are not the be all end all.
Davante Adams is also a great example of a WR who dropped too many passes...until he didn't.— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) April 10, 2019
2014: 4 (9.5%)
2015: 10 (16.7%)
2016: 9 (10.7%)
2017: 5 (6.3%)
2018: 5 (4.3%)
Remember cases like this when evaluating. Not a forever flaw (drop stats here per PFF).
There are usually three types of drops and Butler, at least to me, seems like he falls into the category of concentration and technique:
Three different types of drops...— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) April 11, 2019
Poor Technique (non-fatal but requires steady practice to correct)
Tracking (Difficult to fix) https://t.co/lZ64ojtnZQ
Why do I think, not saying they are, that Butler’s drops issues fall into the first two tiers? Simply because of how good he is on deep routes and how good he is at contested catches. It seems like Butler’s struggles can be a fatal flaw, but don’t exactly line up like it will be.
What do you think?