2019 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Hakeem Butler
School: Iowa State University
Weight: 210 pounds
Round Projection: 3-4
During his career at ISU, Butler slowly evolved from a highlight catch to a credible receiver. With that in mind, no area improved better than his hands. If you look at his first game until now, a change happened. When catching the ball, Butler started to graduate from the showboat grab. Too often, those could lead to bobbles. Therefore, he would stymie any yards after catch. Now, Butler will use his immense catch radius and improved technique to secure the ball.
Granted, with few exceptions, taller receivers do not have that phenomenal explosion. Yet, Butler possesses good vertical speed to challenge the defense and threaten with every snap. With long strides, he captures wide swaths of turf with every step. Meanwhile, in the open field, Butler can still run away from defenders.
As mentioned, Butler began his transition to legitimate receiver last season. Like bigger wideouts, he excels on the post, fade, and out. However, Butler can use vision and quickness to navigate through a screen or slant. Conversely, with a less leggy approach on the short stuff, he can improve the short to intermediate work. On crossers, Butler makes life difficult with his longer strides and ability to catch away from his body.
Despite his long, angular frame, Butler breaks tackles with ease. After the catch, he will muscle, spin, or throw defenders aside. If the play is not a vertical, Butler will make the contested catch in traffic, looking to contact smaller corners.
Although Butler’s elongated frame could make cuts difficult, he continues to work at this aspect. On hitch routes, Butler needs to jab quicker with confidence. An excellent WR coach can work these kinks out.
For all of his abundant gifts, Martavis Bryant remains another failed test away from a year suspension. Under those consequences, Butler presents a Day 3 option with the arrow facing upward. In the redzone, Butler presents an easy leaper that will win versus corners and safeties. In all honesty, Derek Carr still lacks that, with Michael Crabtree departure. Next, at midfield and if the Raiders want to take the shot downfield, Butler will fight for 50/50 balls with aggression. That is to say, he will get handsy and attempt to get physical with defensive backs. Have you seen that in Oakland this year?