6-2/239 Oregon State
Pros: Is a good athlete that is quick off the snap. Is able to use his burst off the line to get leverage at the line of scrimmage. Has a quick first step as an edge rusher and can turn the corner. Has a good motor and can make plays in pursuit. Comfortable working in space and can make the stop in the open field. Shows good recognition.
Cons: Can get overwhelmed by bigger blockers at the point of attack. Lacks experience in coverage. Relies on his edge speed and lacks push moves.
Overview: He plays defensive end for Oregon State, but will almost certainly move to linebacker permanently in the pros. He's an athletic and high character player. Had 22.5 sacks the past two seasons as a starter. He did play receiver and safety in high school, so coverage is not completely new to him. Added surname Strong to his jersey as a senior in honor of his stepfather. Unknown if he plans to continue it in the NFL much like Maurice Jones-Drew did.
NFL Forecast: Butler fits best in the 3-4 scheme and should be able to transition nicely into a starting position in that scheme in a few years. The key will be getting comfortable in coverage, although he has the potential to adjust to that. He'll never be a monster of a pass rusher like some in the scheme, although his production would be fairly strong if he played opposite a Pro Bowler. But he's the type of guy that could produce 4-6 sacks consistently in that scheme. He could play in the 4-3, but his length to impact will be a little longer because he will have to adjust more to coverage and stopping the run. Stopping the run I don't think will be a major obstacle as he develops as a linebacker. It's going to be in coverage. But he fits nicely as a SAM linebacker in the 4-3 scheme. He'll never be a big time player, but a guy that can contribute 70 tackles and 3-5 sacks a year. He has the athleticism, size, and potential to be able to match up with tight ends in coverage.
ATL Forecast: He'd be a project for the Falcons, but has some potential to be able to stick down the road as a starter on the strongside. He probably would need two years sitting on the bench, but should be able to develop into a capable starter. Probably won't be an impact player, but could be of similar caliber to Calvin Pace.
Value: Butler is a nice middle round pick that a team should look at taking around the fifth or sixth round.
Scouting Reports of inside and outside linebackers in the 2009 NFL Draft
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