2017 NFL DRAFT

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.
3251-2

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
5.253.071.8226 29 1/28'8"4.767.82

Mock Draft Expert Analysis

  • Seattle Seahawks | #26
    It would appear that Seattle's top priority would live along the offensive line but GM John Schneider and his staff rarely follow conventional thinking on draft day. At 6-4, 323, Butler has the bulk and strength to handle playing all over the defensive line, including as a possible replacement for longtime starting nose tackle Brandon Mebane, who signed with San Diego in free agency. Perhaps because of the decal on his helmet Butler does not receive much fanfare but he's well respected in the scouting community, offering an exciting blend of size, strength, agility and upside.
  • Kansas City Chiefs | #28
    With Sean Smith expected to hit the free-agent market, the Chiefs will be open to drafting a cornerback in the early rounds. With his size, speed and press-man skills, Jackson fits the mold for what Kansas City seeks at the position.
  • Cincinnati Bengals | #24
    I thought they might go receiver, but they can wait on that. They need help inside next to Geno Atkins. When in doubt, go big.
  • Green Bay Packers | #27
    Versatile, powerful guy from a smaller school starting to get first-round buzz later in the process.
  • Denver Broncos | #31
    Surely, the Broncos adding another big body capable of slicing through gaps in the offensive line won't make their defense even better. Or will it?
 

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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Player News
08/07/2014 - 2014 PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE USA TEAM (COACHES): DL Vernon Butler, Jr., Louisiana Tech...Butler is expected to move into a starting role this season with the loss of Justin Ellis and Shakeil Lucas to graduation. He registered 41 total tackles last season with 3 tackles for a loss of five yards, three pass break-ups and one fumble recovery. His 41 tackles lead all returning defensive linemen for the Bulldogs. - Louisiana Tech football
 

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