Finding Broncos: Scouting Defensive Lineman Vernon Butler

Another defensive linemen is on the docket from MHH Analyst Erick Trickel, with Vernon Butler out of Louisiana Tech.

http://www.scout.com/player/154121-vernon-butler?s=101

Combine Results

40-YARD DASH: 5.33 seconds
BENCH PRESS: 26 reps
VERTICAL JUMP: 29.5 inches
BROAD JUMP: 104.0 inches
3-CONE DRILL: 7.82 seconds
20-YARD SHUTTLE: 4.76 seconds

Pros

  • Elite Athleticism
  • Big, tall and long
  • Knows how to clog running lanes with strength and/or athleticism
  • Versatile. Can play in any scheme in multiple spots & in a single or two-gap responsibility
  • Constantly going forward and never gives up on a play
  • Excellent knee-bender
  • Quick and agile, especially for his size
  • Strong, heavy hands
  • Excellent understanding of leverage and extension
  • Excellent ability to stack and shed offensive linemen with power and timing
  • Can bend the edge when asked
  • Uses his size to keep linebackers free
  • Keeps his upper body in sync with his lower body
  • Excellent burst off the snap that takes offensive linemen by surprise
  • Is one of the best speed-to-power bull rushers I have ever seen
  • Mean, tough and nasty on the field
  • Smart football player
  • Leader on and off the field
  • Amazing attitude and work ethic

Cons

  • Could stand to drop a bit of belly weight
  • Needs to be more consistent with his base
  • Overthinks at times
  • Overworks and uses a lot of wasted time and movement
  • Needs to add some athletic pass rush moves to his speed-to-power bull rush
  • Productivity doesn't match his ability and potential
  • Overall raw skillset
  • Plays too high at times
  • While he never gives up, Butler tends to panic when shut down off of initial move

Overall Thoughts

I am a big fan of Butler and his potential. In Denver's defense, he would bring all kinds of versatility in how they line up and what they do, especially with Sylvester Williams. Butler can line up at the nose tackle, or as a 5-tech defensive end, which is where he saw a lot of action in college. His quickness and agility is why he is able to play the 5-tech.

Also, Butler has the ability to attack a single gap with his athleticism, but has the strength to sit and two-gap when needed. This would add a lot to the Broncos defensive front, who don’t really have a player who can two-gap if need be.

Some may look at his size and determine that he either doesn't fit the Broncos defense, or is strictly a nose tackle, but neither is true. Plus, Butler will need some great coaching to reach his potential and the Broncos have Bill Kollar, who is widely considered the best defensive line coach in the NFL.

Broncos Round Projection: Mid-second round

Where He Goes: Mid-to-late second round

Per sources, multiple scouts and teams are concerns with the lack of production from Butler and may feel he is a year-or-two project and not ready to start from day one. This may see him fall a bit farther than many expect.

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Erick Trickel in an Analyst for MileHighHuddle. You can find him on Twitter @Alaskan_Bronco. And be sure to like MileHighHuddle on Facebook

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