With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.
Jerod Mayo is a Pro Bowler. Gary Guyton did an admirable job when Mayo was injured. Tyrone McKenzie is an unknown. If all three play to their maximum potential, we have one of the best inside linebacker trios in the league. However, that's an unreasonable expectation. Mayo's performance dropped this past season when he was paired with the inexperienced talent of Gary Guyton, as opposed to the experienced Tedy Bruschi. Maybe Guyton will step up this next season and both Mayo and Guyton will shine in their 3rd seasons as pros. If not, there's always a need for improvement. McKenzie is far from a proven commodity, so it wouldn't surprise me if the Patriots drafted an ILB who proved their worth in college. Washington's Donald Butler was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise terrible Washington team. At 6-1, 235, Butler is a little small to play ILB, but his playing weight in college as 245 so I'd expect him to put weight back on- 235 is most likely his combine/track and field weight. He was a monster play maker and has the potential to be a great talent in the NFL.
His measurements and some quotes after the jump.WalterFootball.com Scouting
Height: 6-1. Weight: 235.
Projected 40 Time: 4.84.
Pro Day 40 Time: 4.61.
Benchx225: 35. Vertical: 35.5.
03/14/2010 - TOP RATED NFL DRAFT SCOUT INSIDE LINEBACKERS: Donald Butler, Washington, 6-1, 245, 4-5: Butler's stock has been rising quickly the past few months, especially after a strong showing at the Senior Bowl workouts. Based on that, he became a late addition to the invitation list for the combine, where he put up a position-best 35 bench-press repetitions at 225 pounds. Because of injuries to others, Butler moved between inside and outside linebacker in 2008 and did it well enough to be voted the Huskies' most improved defender. He was then selected team captain for 2009, going on to lead the team with 94 tackles, 15?? for a loss. He added two interceptions, a fumble recovery and three forced fumbles. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange, NFLDraftScout.com/CBS Sports/USA TODAY
03/10/2010 - "I didn't want to push my Pro Day back any more. I really don't have the luxury to do that. So I wanted to come out here and show at least a little bit of what I can do." Butler was hoping to run even faster - into the 4.5s - but he garnered style points for even making the effort. "The kid already has shown plenty," one scout said. "By running today, on that ankle, it only displayed his toughness and how much he wants this." And want it Butler does. That was apparent by how he showed up for the series of tests and drills that were performed for representatives from roughly 17 NFL teams. Butler's upper body was chiseled, and he weighed in at 235 pounds - 10 fewer than at the scouting combine last month. Butler began his day by popping a 35??-inch effort in the vertical leap. He passed on the bench press, after doing 35 reps with 225 pounds at the combine. Then came those all-important 40s, where Butler looked smooth and strong. In the individual drills that concluded this Dawg-Day afternoon, Butler displayed a nice combination of explosive bursts and fluid movements as he dropped into coverage. "The fact that I can drop back, understand pass concepts and then break on ball helps my stock out even more," Butler said. The whole of Butler's impressive parts left one scout to harrumph, "I liked him last year, and thought I was onto something. Now, everybody likes him." - Clare Farnsworth, Seahawks.com
Butler is a two-year starter that had an outstanding senior season. Butler has good size and strength but lacks great speed. He is a solid athlete with decent foot agility, balance and short area quickness to close in the open field. Butler should be more physical on contact but is a solid hitter between the tackles. He is inconsistent to ward off and shed blockers to the pile. He has good instincts but is inconsistent in his pursuit angles and run fits at times. Despite not having great speed, he is solid as a coverage defender. Butler has the size, strength, instincts, toughness and athleticism to contribute on special teams as well adding valuable depth to a club in his rookie season.
Great size with a muscular physique --- Very Athletic --- Explosive and fast with a burst --- Smooth with nice agility and quickness --- Terrific instincts to read and react --- Excellent strength --- Does a fantastic job in pursuit and closes in a hurry --- Able to avoid blockers --- Reliable tackler --- Can match up in man coverage --- Decent blitzer --- Hard Worker --- Leader --- Versatile --- Superb special teamer --- Productive.
Durability may be a concern --- Struggles when he has to take on and shed blockers --- Lacks power in his game --- Not a big hitter --- Can be too aggressive at times --- Gets engulfed when massive linemen lock on --- Is not stout at the point of attack --- Frame might be maxed out.
Was a 2½-year starter for the Huskies --- Named 2nd Team All-Pac-10 in 2009 --- Served as a team captain --- Missed some time with a knee injury in 2007 --- Suffered a concussion in 2008 --- Didn't work out at the Scouting Combine due to an ankle sprain --- Generated a lot of buzz with his performance at the Senior Bowl --- Could project inside or outside at the next level and has experience at both positions --- A real intriguing player with a lot of talent who flew under the radar while stuck on a bad team in the Pacific Northwest --- Underrated prospect with both the physical tools and intangibles to be a starter in the NFL.
Verdict: Butler doesn't have the make-up of a game changer like Mayo- but I think he could be a player like Bruschi. He has the solid fundamentals and can be the complimentary player that makes Mayo shine. Butler is most likely going in the 3rd round and is often rated as a top 5 ILB in the draft. If we trade down to the 3rd, Butler would be a great value pick and could give us depth at linebacker- depth we desperately need.