Cornerback Big Fan of Woodson

This late-round prospect and three-year starter has the intelligence and build that will interest Green Bay late in the draft.

Mario Butler is a smart guy, and not just because Charles Woodson is his favorite cornerback.

"Just his whole mentality about the game, his approach," Butler, a 6-foot-1 cornerback from Georgia Tech, told Packer Report at the Scouting Combine. "He's a hard worker. You can tell he just loves the game of football, is dedicated and knows his stuff. He's all over routes and can play a range of different coverages."

The well-spoken Butler was a three-year starter for the Ramblin' Wreck, including his sophomore and junior seasons with his good friend Morgan Burnett, the Packers' safety. In his final home game, Butler made back-to-back plays that would have made Woodson's proud. After tackling a receiver for a 6-yard loss, he intercepted a pass and raced 85 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. It was his only interception of the season and the fourth of his career. He played well against Georgia's A.J. Green — arguably the top receiver in this draft — and stood out during the week of practices leading up to the East-West all-star game.

Butler ran poorly at the Scouting Combine — he was hoping to about 4.4 but was clocked in 4.6, likely sinking his draft stock to the late rounds. He hoped to improve that time during Wednesday's pro day but a rainstorm sent the event into an on-campus gym.

Nonetheless, Butler has some traits that interest the Packers. That starts with his height — general manager Ted Thompson hasn't drafted a cornerback shorter than 6-foot during his tenure. He also has long arms to redirect receivers, whether it's getting physical at the line of scrimmage or during their routes. Plus, he's got a good feel for zone coverage, which is the main coverage after years of nothing but press man.

Where Woodson excels is on run defense, and that's an area that Butler knows he must improve.

"I think I can," he said. "One of the questions on me has been inconsistent in the run game. I think that's what some of the questions I have to answer are (at the Combine). Am I willing to come up and make a tackle and things of that nature. That's one thing I've been trying to focus on — just having a good base when I come up to tackle and getting the ball-carrier on the ground. It's something I have to work on. You can't lie to (the scouts). They know everything. They watch the same film that you watch."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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