There are hundreds of stories being told during the planning and anticipation of the 2017 NFL Draft. Today we will be looking at a scouting report for senior tight end Jake Butt, Michigan Wolverines.
TE-Jake Butt, Michigan 6’6” 248 lbs.
Please forgive my homerism as I have been watching Jake Butt in Ann Arbor for the past four years and have seen his level of play improve, especially since Coach Harbaugh came to town. Because I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, let’s break down what I saw in the seven games I reviewed of the senior playmaker: 2016 contests versus Michigan State, Iowa, Colorado, Wisconsin, Penn State, Ohio State, and Florida State. Most of these game videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. These are my thoughts:
Cons: His recently torn ACL in the Orange Bowl played on December 30th is certainly a concern. How long will it take to recover? More severe knee injuries take a full year to get back to full strength, so Butt may not make much or any impact his rookie season. The tight end was not the swiftest of foot before the injury, so the likelihood he acquires a second gear is that of a JT and Britney reunion. He is not a polished route runner and will not amaze you with his overall athleticism. Butt is also not a great red zone threat either, with only eleven touchdowns in his four years at Michigan.
Pros: He is one of a few of his classes two-way tight ends (OJ Howard is the other). Butt does a good job sealing the edge on runs and sinks his hips well to pass block. Sure, the former Wolverine can get a little grabby at times, but he shows a good understanding about how long to hold the block and what angles to take to be the most effective. This will get him more opportunities to be a part of the NFL team’s offense that drafts him. As a receiver, he lines up as a traditional tight end or in the slot. Butt has soft hands with a big catch radius (for a tight end) and good concentration. The tight end uses spin moves and stiff arms to get away from his usual linebacker coverage. He tracks and adjusts well to the ball in the air, and is willing to snare the pigskin in the middle of the field while catching it in stride. I believe his upside could be in the former Steeler Heath Miller range, aka a good blocker who can be a safety valve for his quarterback.
Overall impressions: In this year’s class full of athletic wonders (Howard, Njoku, Engram, Leggett), there are a lot of outstanding choices that could make a more immediate impact. If you have the patience, Butt could give you the coolest name and value at the position for many years to come. He should be available after the top four rookie tight ends go off the board and allow you the time to transition if you have an older tight end like Jason Witten on your roster.
Thanks for reading. I will continue to discuss my scouting reports with you throughout the next several months, so keep checking the site for more content. Please check out my other content as well. You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley.