It was a long wait for he former Bulldog, Vernon Butler, before his number was called in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Vernon became the highest drafted player form a Louisiana School in this years draft, and the only player form Louisiana to be asked to attend the NFL’s annual draft.
A big body in the middle of the Bulldogs’ defense, Butler proved in his two years as a starter that he has the girth and nimble feet to clog up running lanes. Conference USA coaches rectified their error in not giving Butler all-conference recognition in 2014 (56 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss) by voting him first-team All-C-USA after his senior year (50 tackles, 10 TFL, three sacks, eight quarterback hurries). NFL teams will not miss the opportunity to add Butler to their interior.
PRO DAY RESULTS
40-yard dash: 5.15 seconds
Vertical: 33 1/2 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 3 inches
Long-armed knee-bender who can play the role of low man at the point of attack. Plays with strong hands and good arm extension and can “peekaboo” both gaps as he reads which hole the running back heads for. Impressive stack and shed timing and power. Able to eat up double teams and keep his linebackers clean when asked to. Excellent athleticism. Can make plays all along the line of scrimmage. If blocker doesn’t finish, Butler will work himself back into the play. Able to coordinate hands and feet smoothly and has change of direction and closing burst to become a dominant pass rusher from inside. Can slide from gap to gap as a pass rusher and is a perfect fit for twist-based defense. Generally attacks gaps with forward lean and ability to corner the edge when he has his man beat. Can stutter-step into pass rush to disrupt offensive linemans timing or generate a speed-to-power bull rush that can severely dent a pocket. Gives consistent effort and plays like a lead dog looking to eat.
Build is athletic, but a little bit top heavy. Will play with inconsistent base when his pad level gets too high trying to win through the gaps. Will try to out-muscle his opponent when his initial pass rush gets stuck in neutral, rather than use counter moves. For all of his potential and talent, wasn’t as productive as NFL scouts are used to. Plays with some wasted energy and motion and needs to work more efficiently.
Athletic interior lineman with long arms and outstanding athleticism that allows him to work on offensive linemen with a combination of power and quickness. Butler has a raw but diverse skillset as a pass rusher that should excite NFL evaluators who see the potential of what he can be with more coaching and experience. With his effort and defensive ball awareness, his ceiling appears to be high with a chance to become a high-level starter for an odd or even front defense.” -Courtesy of NFL Network