Has a good leg and gets good distance on most of his kicks. Does a nice job kicking his team out of trouble when backed up in their own territory. Flashes ability to get hangtime and force the fair catch or prevent the return. Flashes some ability to make the directional kicks on the short field, angling kicks towards the sideline.
Line drives too many punts, especially the longer ones when he's trying to kick his team out of trouble. Too often outkicks his coverage trying to get distance rather than hangtime, leading to some big returns against their special teams. Needs to show more consistency with getting hangtime. Not a guy you can trust to play keep-away with a big-time returner.
Butler has a big leg that flashes the directional kicking ability to control field position, but he hasn't quite mastered that. Too often big returns were given up by Georgia's special teams because he outkicked his coverage and it hurt them in a lot of close games. He has limited experience on kickoffs, mainly due to the present of Blair Walsh there. His father, Kevin, spent 13 years in the NFL as a kicker mostly with the Chicago Bears (1985-95).
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/3) vs. Boise St: 5 punts, 47.8 avg, 56 long, 0 fair catches, 4.29 avg. hangtime
(9/10) vs. South Carolina: 4 punts, 44.0 avg, 53 long, 2 FCs, 4.27 avg. hangtime
(12/3) vs. LSU: 7 punts, 51.4 avg, 62 long, 0 FCs, 4.29 avg. hangtime
2011: 14 GP, 58 punts, 2566 yds, 44.2 avg, 62 long, 4 TBs, 15 FCs, 21 In20, 0 blocked
Butler has the tools to be a good NFL punter, but you rarely saw the big kicks or high hangers that make you think he's a guy that can consistently control field position. He's more the type of guy that will receiver accolades because he has a high average per punt, and subsequently a fairly high net average. He has the sort of leg strength that could easily be among the league leaders in average yards per punt. But what will be overlooked by many is that there will be a fairly large dropoff between his gross and net average, which is typically an indicator of poor special teams coverage. He doesn't do his coverage units any favors, and was a major contributor to why Georgia's special teams struggled throughout this past season. He can be developed, and should improve with more experience in the league. But early on in his career, I don't think he'll be a huge asset to have on special teams especially for teams that want a guy that can help control field position on the short field. On a team with a poor offense, constantly backed up in their own territory his ability to kick them out of trouble will be considered more of an asset, similar to how Shane Lechler has found success in Oakland. On a team with a better offense that needs a guy that can consistently work the short field and pin teams deep, he won't be as valuable. Again, I think that ability can come with time and development, similar to what it has been with similarly big-legged punters like Lechler and Andy Lee. And if he does develop, then down the road he'll be much more deserving of Pro Bowl nods that his big numbers seem to indicate. But he's not going to be that player right away in the pros, and there's no guarantee he ever is that sort of player.
Matt Dodge, ex-Giants.
Butler has the big leg to shine indoors in Atlanta, but because of his very limited experience as a kickoff specialist, and the fact that he's not fully developed directional/placement punter, he doesn't offer an immediate upgrade over Bosher. While his leg strength is what you look for in a kickoff guy, since he has virtually no experience it's not a safe bet that ability develops down the line. So while he has the bigger, booming leg, Butler probably doesn't add as much value on special teams as Bosher early on and thus would be hard-pressed to beat him out in a competition even a couple of years down the line.
Butler's big leg is proably enough to get him looks late in the draft with a team willing to be patient and develop the more technical and finesse aspects of his game. Because he's more of a long-term developmental guy though and lacks the versatility to kick off, he'd be a reach taken before the seventh round.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Leg Strength: 8.5
Directional Kicking: 5.5
Clutch Kicking: 4.0
Scouting reports of the kickers, punters, and long snappers in the 2012 Draft.
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