Jake Butt, TE, Michigan: 2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report
Jake Butt is more than a funny name, he’s a potential NFL star
The tight end role is a truly underrepresented position in the first round of the NFL Draft. Since 2006, only eight have been selected during the first round. Much like running backs, NFL evaluators are able to find value during later rounds.
Jake Butt is unlikely to break into the first round, but he could continue the trend of being another monster NFL tight end selected outside the top-32 picks. Can he be the next Zach Ertz, Rob Gronkowski, or Travis Kelce coming out of the second day of the NFL Draft?
Butt is a versatile offensive weapon who lined up at outside receiver, slot receiver, H-back, and as a traditional in-line tight end in college. With that said, Butt has ideal NFL size; his big body makes him incredibly difficult to defend in the red zone, and also allows him to box out defenders.
A willing run and pass blocker for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, Butt not only blocked defensive linemen, but also moved up to the second level and engaged linebackers and defensive backs.
Prepared to run routes in the middle of the field, his deceptive speed is incredibly dangerous whilst running seam routes in the red zone. He’s a smooth route runner who uses subtle movements to gain separation.
At Michigan he was a fantastic hands catcher who possesses fantastic awareness with regards to knowing the location of the first down marker. Butt has proven to be a clutch receiver who made both contested and adjustment catches and is seemingly always open.
Regardless of his willingness, his run blocking technique requires work. He is dominated far too often by opponents with his blocks landing too high and his lack of drive through his defender. On too many occasions whilst blocking his opponent is able to disengage and get involved with the ball carrier.
Despite his deceptive speed, his short area quickness and change of direction skills aren’t quite on par. Also, Butt tore his ACL during the Orange Bowl against Florida State. He may need to take a redshirt year or start the season on PUP, which may not be a bad thing as young tight ends tend to struggle early on in the NFL and need time to develop.
Projection: Round 2/3
A traditional tight end with incredible pass catching ability, Jake Butt has skills highly sought of in today’s NFL. His torn ACL may cause him to slip past the first couple of rounds, but if he can recover from that setback, he is a potential productive and reliable starter for one lucky franchise.
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