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Is Darius Butler overrated?

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by mayoclinic, Mar 31, 2009.

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  1. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Allright, Bakes781 has driven me to it. Since we've had almost 24 hours of silence on another famous "overrated" thread, I think it's time for a new one.

    I'll state my case that Darius Butler is overrated right now.

    1. Player productivity

    Rich Gosselin sums it up nicely:

    Darius Butler is everything the NFL wants in a cornerback. He's 5-10, 183 pounds and runs a 4.41. His 43-inch vertical jump was the best at the NFL combine. So athletically, the package is all there. So is the football package. Butler started 45 career games at Connecticut and was a two-year captain. He was an All-Big East selection as a senior and also returns kicks. What's not to like?

    For starters, where are the plays? Butler did not have an interception last season and broke up only four passes in 11 games. You hear that the opposition threw away from Butler -- you hear that about all the great college corners -- but the playmakers find some way to get their hands on the football. Charles Woodson was the only player to win a Heisman Trophy at cornerback in 1997. Offenses didn't throw at him, but he still found a way to intercept five passes for Michigan that season.

    The last highly-touted cornerback I can recall coming of college without an interception in his senior season was North Carolina's Jimmy Hitch**** in 1995. He wound up sliding into the third round, where he was drafted by New England. He played eight NFL seasons and intercepted 19 career passes.

    Butler did intercept 10 passes in his career at Connecticut -- but none in his final 17 games. Butler will still go high in the 2009 draft. Just how high will be determined by how NFL teams resolve in their draft meetings his lack of plays.


    NFL Blog | Sports News | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News

    Is that the kind of playmaker worth a 1st round draft pick?

    2. Early draft rankings

    The the end of the bowl season Butler was generally ranked as a late 2nd/early 3rd round prospect. He was by no means a consensus 1st day pick. National Football Post didn't have them in the top 100 from their January 4 rankings (Vontae Davis was ranked 22, Sean Smith 32, and Alphonso Smith 41; the list all included juniors who ended up staying):

    The National Football Post | NFL Draft: Updated Top 100 Prospects

    NFLdraftscout had him a bit higher, ranked #58 in their January rankings, as was noted on this thread (see post #8):

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/13/203389-nfl-draft-scout-top-64-a.html

    3. The Senior Bowl

    Butler had a decent week at the Senior Bowl but didn't particularly stand out. Certainly he didn't separate himself from the other CBs, and Alphonso Smith was generally the most mentioned CB participating. Butler didn't show up on any of the winners/losers lists. I don't think his stock was particularly affected.

    Detailed discussion of the Senior Bowl, courtesy of Seneschal2, can be found at:

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/13/209066-2009-senior-bowl.html

    4. Combine and Pro day

    There's no doubt that Butler blew up the combine and had a great pro day, running in the 4.38-4.45 range with a 43" verticle, 11+' long jump, blazing fast 10 yard split, and decent 3-cone. He looks very smooth in drills with a great backpedal and nice hip flip. He clearly looks like a 1st round CB at these workouts.

    5. Summary

    One can make a fairly strong argument that Butler is a mid/late 2nd round CB in pads, and a 1st rounder in shorts, whereas Alphonso Smith is a 1st round CB in pads and a mid/late 2nd rounder in shorts. Butler has had tremendous workouts at the combine and in his pro day, and looks the part, but he didn't really produce as a playmaker at Connecticut and he didn't particularly stand out at the combine. Does this make him a solid 1st round prospect? I'm not sure. I put him in the overrated category right now.
     
  2. bakes781

    bakes781 In the Starting Line-Up

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    :lol2: I'm honored!

    [​IMG]
    Well allow me to retort...

    Despite not having a single INT in 2008, Conference coaches elected the versatile playmaker a first-team all-conference selection and Butler has proven his takeaway ability in the past, recording 10 interceptions over his first three seasons.

    There's also the NFL bloodlines...Butler's uncle, Gene Atkins, played in the NFL and his cousin is Baltimore Ravens' running back Willis McGahee.

    NFL Events: Combine Player Profiles - Darius Butler
    And according to this report^ The four-year starter and two-year captain had a strong week of practice at the Senior Bowl. Showing good recovery speed and the ability to play in mutiple schemes.

    I would contend that he clearly separated himself in the combine and pro day workouts. He scored a 43 inch vertical compared to that of Jenkins 33", Vontae 36" and Alphonso's 34". He has the size and speed to go along with the athleticism.

    My arguement for him at #23 would be that we know there's a plentiful stock of OLB prospects and there's a HIGH probability that at least ONE of them(Barwin, English, Matthews) will be available at #34. So if you grade them all about the same, then why not go for the only true CB worthy of a day one selection and address your OLB need at #34?
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009
  3. TriplecHamp

    TriplecHamp Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    If Darius Butler is overrated than you know whois definatly overrated. Darius Butler was one of the most respect CB in the nation last year. He is at the top of the List at the conerback position. His stock is rising but were not talking about using #23 on him. We would be reaching if we took him at #23. You Know who isnt overrated either except for on patsfans, most others have him as an early second-Mid second rounder. Here we would be "lucky to have him at #23", that IMO is inflating his value because he is a Project with good upside but Maybin has even more upside but Maybin dosnt look like vrabel, hasnt made a position change, and is still young and undeveloped, which is why he isnt as popular here. Back to Butler, one of the top three coners in this draft IMO and has plenty of upside. DRC 2?
     
  4. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Ah, yes, bloodlines. That irrefutable argument.

    Again, he's a good player. Just like you-know-who. He's a legitimate 2nd rounder. But is his 1st round status due entirely to being a workout warrior? His play says 2nd round, his workouts 1st.
     
  5. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    DRC2? For a 5'10" CB? I don't see it.
     
  6. TriplecHamp

    TriplecHamp Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Its his Leaping ability and Recovery speed that makes me think DRC. They both solidified themselves as good prospects at the senoirbowl/Combine and have very simmilar frames. Butler also played a little WR for UCONN. Troy Brown 2 lmao! DRC is only 6'1 vs butlers 5'10 but they play very simmilar. In your words he would be OUR DRC.
     
  7. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    He sounds more like another Ellis Hobbs than a DRC. Hobbs had a 42" vertical and similar numbers in 2005, and was 1" shorter. DRC was 4" taller as well as incredibly athletic, with a blazing 3-cone. In other words, an athletic freak. He came out of a small cnoference as a talented but known player. He dominated the Senior Bowl and then wowed at the combine and his pro day.

    Butler was a solid college performer in a fairly prominent conference. He was steady but by no means spectacular at the Senior Bowl, and then blew away the combine. He's not an athletic freak by any means. He is a very athletic and smooth CB.
     
  8. Seneschal2

    Seneschal2 In the Starting Line-Up

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    O.K. -- I'll play. :)

    When it comes to bloodlines, I'll accept the fathers, brothers, and maybe the uncles...but the cousins we can leave at the airports. :D

    Because...

    BB's highest drafted CB was Eugene Wilson (round 2), followed by Wheatley (round 2), Hobbs (round 3), and Samuel (round 4). Hobbs and Asante became starters, Wilson became the starting FS, and Wheatley will be vying for the starter's role this season. They prove that BB has no problem finding potential starters after round one.

    In addition, there are indeed other CB options after day one. And some have arguably equal -- if not better -- ball skills and career production than Butler.

    Of course, this doesn't mean BB won't select Butler in round one, only that like the DE/OLB position, he does have several options to choose from.

    I'm done. :)
     
  9. Patriot Missile

    Patriot Missile Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Saying Butler's Senior Bowl was "decent" is a little off imo. He had a very good if not excellent Senior Bowl which is considered a whole week. Not just one game. He was one of the few CB's. I take that back. One of the only CB's that stood out during that week for being able to play man to man physical defense.

    Seriously though, I think he is a little overrated because I don't think there is a CB in this draft that is a sure fire can't miss first round prospect, or should I say I don't feel the "it factor" with any of them. I don't feel the same way about Davis,Jenkins or A.Smith. If I graded them I would go Jenkins 1,Butler-A.Smith push for 2 and Vontae Davis 3.
     
  10. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Here's Tony Pauline's list of risers and sliders from the Senior Bowl:

    B.J. Raji, Derek Williams were winners at Senior Bowl practices - SI.com - 2008 NFL Super Bowl

    There are also links to the first 4 days of practice. Butler's name isn't mentioned once. Alphonso Smith and Coye Francies are the 2 CBs singled out. Scott Wright from NFLdraftcountdown said Butler was generally impressive, "athough he did get beat more than I would have preferred." Draft Countdown - 2009 Senior Bowl Review

    I didn't get to see the Senior Bowl practices myself, so I'm going by report. But from what I can tell, no one really mentioned Butler as being a particular standout at the time. He was solid, but nothing more. If you saw him yourself and feel that he stood out and played man to man physical defense then I would have to defer to you, as I am going by report.

    I generally agree with you about your order of CBs. I do think DJ Moore has slipped a lot, and he was neck and neck with Alphonso Smith last year in terms of performance, so he would be another option later in the 2nd round.
     
  11. TriplecHamp

    TriplecHamp Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    On the NFLDraftscout website Butler is very similar in athleticism to DRC if your going by the numbers from the combine and pro day. DRC had a better 40 and a better 3-cone. If you look at the ten yard split they are almost dead even and Butler posted a better Vert, and a better broad. I think they are both great athletes and I would still probably give the edge to DRC. At the same time when you say Butler is overrated I just say look at DRC and his numbers at the combine/senior bowl and look what they have done for him. we are talking about the 16th overall pick in the draft and I am saying that Butler should go around 25-35 range. When you compare Barwin to Butler its like comparing the common cold to the flu. I think both will grow into something bigger than they are now but Butler is a four year starter and has played in all three aspects of the game.He was well respected(never did a QB pick on him) and posted good combine numbers and was solid at the senior bowl. Barwin played one year on D and probably never faced double teams, and posted great numbers at the combine. Who do you think is the better option if a team had major holes at both the corner position and LB position. Barwin the very raw high ceiling conversion project who can block kicks(possibly) and play TE or Butler, the high ceiling, proven CB who returns kicks and plays receiver?
     
  12. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I haven't been comparing Butler to Barwin, as they are apples and oranges. But since you bring it up, Barwin was more productive in his one year on defense (11 sacks plus numerous tackles for loss, passes defended and kicks blocked) than Butler was with his 1 interception in 17 games. You could argue that Butler is a more finished product, but that would suggest he has a lower ceiling as well compared to Barwin.

    If you had major holes at both positions and needed immediate help then I would think Butler would be the better option. But that's not the case for the Pats. We don't need immediate help at CB at all, and we've reloaded in FA so that we have very few major holes. We're drafting primarily for 2010 and beyond.

    In a major oversight, Barwin wasn't invited to the Senior Bowl as a DE, so we didn't get to see a week of live practice with him against top OLs. It's a real shame. But from my point of view, both Butler and Barwin were 2nd round picks who blew up the combine and their pro days. Butler had a solid but not spectacular Senior Bowl, Barwin didn't get to show his best position at the Senior Bowl. Barwin has more upside, Butler is more finished. I could argue that Butler is every bit as "overrated" as a late 1st round prospect as Barwin is.

    Understand again, I actually like Butler (but not for the Pats in the first round, or even at #34) and think he will be a solid CB. He may be a late 1st round value, though I think he is more of an early to mid 2nd rounder. I think comparing him to DRC is ridiculous, but he may go ahead and prove me wrong.
     
  13. TriplecHamp

    TriplecHamp Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    I thought the whole reason you started this thread was because of the "Does anybody else think Barwin is overrated thread?". I wasn't really comparing the two as players but as picks. Darrius Butler is one of the top corners in a weak corner draft so a team is more likely to grab him early rather than late. Barwin is toward the middle of the pack when it comes to possible OLB in this draft. If this was last years draft and he put up the same numbers at the combine and such he would probably be given a better grade. Comparing DRC to Butler is easy because it is only one year later. I think what you saw from DRC is similar to what you are going to see from Butler. Not an automatic lock down corner, but an athletic solid high potential guy. You have gone as far to compare Louis Delmas to Troy Polamalu and Barwin to DeMarcus Ware, two Unproven prospects to two All-Pros. I wouldn't want Butler until #34 at the highest but he is more likely to be a first round pick than Barwin.
     
  14. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Fair enough, and a nice retort. If I'm allowed my reaches in terms of projecting players upsides, then you certainly should be allowed the same leeway. I hope you're right, as I liked DRC a lot coming out.
     
  15. upstater1

    upstater1 Pro Bowl Player

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    No one has mentioned that he missed 5 games this year. He was hurt early in the 7th game of the season. Came back and barely played in the bowl game.

    I think it's very telling that he had 8 interceptions as a Frosh and Soph, and then teams stopped throwing at him. UConn also plays no man-to-man. Butler plays off receivers and rarely comes up on them.

    He's definitely a playmaker, someone on the field who makes big plays, but it's hard to project his interceptions since most of those INTs were probably QB mistakes downfield. UConn CBs rarely if ever jump routes.
     
  16. patchick

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    Saying that Darius Butler looks just like DRC if you ignore the 4-inch height difference kind of misses the point, IMO. DRC was considered a premium prospect because he was 6'2". You can find quick corners, and you can find tall corners. But a tall AND quick CB is a rare bird worthy of a top pick.

    But you're right to look to last year's draft for a comparison to Butler. There was one CB last year who was a very good match for his size, quickness and athleticism. His name was Terrence Wheatley.
     
  17. bakes781

    bakes781 In the Starting Line-Up

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    I think it comes down to who would you feel more comfortable with picking at #23...

    Connor Barwin/Clay Matthews/Larry English or Darius Butler? If you said the choice at OLB was English it would be very close for me, but knowing there's a good chance one of these guys will still be there at #34 then I would choose the CB. This doesn't have to be all about Butler either btw. Some might like to take another Darrius. Heyward-Bey might be of interest?

    Now if the Pats decide one of these OLBs sticks out among the group. Then by all means take him at #23. But if they grade out about the same, then I see no reason to reach for a guy with a similar grade to the one who ends up available at #34.
     
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