Vernon Butler, DT

School: Louisiana Tech  |  Conference: C-USA
College Experience: Senior  |  Hometown: Summit, MS
Height/Weight: 6-4 / 323 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
5.333.07-26 29 1/2-4.767.82
Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill 29 1/28'8"4.767.82

Mock Draft Expert Analysis

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Player Overview

Butler considered entering the 2015 NFL Draft but returned for his senior season and earned First Team All-Conference USA honors with 48 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss and a career-best 4.0 sacks. Butler accepted his invitation to the 2016 Senior Bowl.

A two-star recruit out of high school, Vernon "Big Vern" Butler received offers from SEC programs Ole Miss and Mississippi State, but he fell in love with Louisiana Tech and chose to play his college ball in Ruston, La.

He was a back-up as a true freshman and sophomore, but saw his snaps increase each game and earned his first start in 2013. Butler became a full-time starter in 2014 as a junior and recorded a career-best 56 tackles and 13.5 tackles for loss, earning All-Conference USA Honorable Mention honors.

Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: Wide-hipped and carries his weight well. Short-area quickness and lateral range to work up and down the line of scrimmage and sidestep blocks. Strong upper body to create movement off the snap, using his balance and length to extend into blocks and convert initial step to power.

He was almost unblockable at times during Senior Bowl practices, showing an exciting combination of initial quickness, balance and a refined swim move, belying his 6-foot-4, 325-pound frame.

Coordinated movements to work off blocks and stay within striking distance. Sees through blockers with improved tracking awareness. Excellent pursuit speed and playing range for his size. Active hands and reach to stack the corner and work to get free. Hits behind his pads with the closing surge.

Plays with energy and shows the same intensity in the fourth quarter as the opening drive. Consistent competitor with a strong football appetite.

WEAKNESSES: Plays too upright off the snap and relies on his upper body power instead of using leverage and knee bend. Strong when squared, but struggles to control blocks when not nose-to-nose, limiting his ability to break free and make stops on ballcarriers in the gap. Narrow-shouldered and needs to do a better job keeping blockers from his body, maintaining space to better create separation.

Active hands and limbs, but needs to show more purpose and strategy behind his rush moves (minimal sack production in college).

COMPARES TO: Johnathan Hankins, New York Giants - Both Hankins and Butler have the quickness and point of attack power to push the pocket to give blockers all they can handle.

IN OUR VIEW: Butler lined up all over Louisiana Tech's multiple front, spending most of his time at three- and five-technique spots and moving inside to nose tackle in passing situations. He flashes on tape with the lower-body athleticism and upper-body power to stack blockers and make stops at or behind the line of scrimmage (23.5 tackles for loss as a starter).

Butler plays balanced on his feet with coordinated movements, but needs to improve his pad level to better clear single blockers when not squared up. Although he needs to develop his pass rush technique, Butler will appeal to both even and odd fronts with his relentless playing temperament, lateral quickness and power to control the point of attack.

--Dane Brugler (1/28/16)

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