PROS: Shows good speed and can make the stop in pursuit. Shows some pop as a tackler at the point, but is mostly a drag-down tackler. But does a nice job wrapping up. Does best work when attacking the line of scrimmage and shows ability to blitz up the middle. Shows some awareness in zone coverage and can play in space.
CONS: Needs to take better angles to the ball when he's playing in space. Gets caught up in traffic too much and occasionally will hit the wrong gaps. When he blitzes, too easily sidestepped by the quarterback which indicates some stiffness.
OVERVIEW: Came into the season as the least-billed linebacker on Washington, but emerge as their best guy. Finished with 94 tackles, 15.5 for loss, 3 forced fumbles, and a sack. Can play both inside and outside on the next level.
NFL FORECAST: He is a bit of an undersized middle linebacker, and I'm not sure will be an effective starter in a 4-3 scheme. Rather, I think he fits better at weakside linebacker in a 4-3. But he could be a nice option as an inside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme. There he can attack the line of scrimmage, fill gaps, and use his ability as a pass rusher to make plays in the backfield. Unless he's playing in the 3-4, I don't see him as a starter. And even in that scheme, I think he'll be fairly average starter at best. Most likely he's a backup on the next level that will have to impact on special teams in order to stick long-term.
ATL FORECAST: Butler could compete as a weakside linebacker for the Falcons, but isn't quite the player that fits well as an heir apparent to Peterson. Instead, he would likely be a decent backup middle linebacker for the Falcons, but he's really nothing special and would be more of a special teams ace on par with Coy Wire.
VALUE: Butler is a decent late round pick for a team targetting a backup. For a 3-4 team, they might take him in the fifth round at the earliest. A 4-3 team should hold off until the sixth round.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.