Article by: Kevin Eagleson
The 2019 NFL draft class is one filled with talent at all positions, with wide receivers being no exception. The position will likely be one of the most drafted positions, and these players will certainly make an immediate impact on whatever team they join. There are plenty of prospects to be excited about, such as athletic freak D.K. Metcalf, future hall-of-famer Antonio Brown’s cousin Marquise Brown, deep threat N’Keal Harry, and speedster Parris Campbell. However, one of the top receivers that is being overshadowed may have the potential to become the best receiver out of this entire draft class.
Iowa State receiver Hakeem Butler is coming off of an impressive final season of his college career, where he caught 60 receptions for 1,318 yards and 9 touchdown. Numbers aside, Butler has the combination of physical build as well as the raw skill that could make him a future star in the NFL.
Hakeem Butler stands at 6’5 and ⅜, 227 pounds with a giant catch radius. Players such as Calvin Johnson and Mike Evans have showcased the advantages a frame of this size can provide, and Butler could be next. Butler’s big body did not stop him from being a problem after the catch as we saw during his tenure at Iowa State. Butler proved his ability to be a multi-dimensional receiver, as he also excelled with high-point and contested catches. Another way Butler separates himself from the other top receivers is his experience playing both outside as well as in the slot.
One of the reasons Butler has been slept on, and the biggest concern regarding the receiver is inconsistencies catching the ball. Hakeem struggled holding onto the ball throughout his college career, which many fear will continue after he is drafted. However, with proper coaching and development Butler’s weaknesses can be addressed, and he can truly become one of the most talented receivers. As previously mentioned, Butler’s experience lining up in various roles will work to his advantage, as he will have opportunities to be on the field in almost any offense. He will have plenty of chances to work out any kinks in his mechanics and develop into a star.
While overshadowed, Hakeem Butler possesses almost everything a team could look for in a receiver. His instant ability to start, the few areas in need of improvement can be addressed, giving Butler a deceptively high floor. Some of the draft’s top receivers may look intriguing, but have bust written all over them (see John Ross two years ago). Hakeem Butler is the receiver that deserves to be talked about, and he has a great chance to develop into a true star at the next level.
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