Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines a failed target thrown to Iowa State receiver Hakeem Butler and why it contributes mightily to his compelling 2019 NFL Draft profile.
The whip route is commonly a slot receiver’s tool. Keenan Allen, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and several other NFL receivers with deer-like quicks frustrate safeties with this route. Yes, tight ends also run this route but they’re commonly matched up with linebackers when they run it.
We’re focused on receivers and a player who should be in your crosshairs this spring is Hakeem Butler. When a 6’6″, 225-pound receiver can run a whip route well enough that a cornerback has to foul him, it’s intel that should leap off the page, grab you by the jaw and scream, “DID YOU SEE THAT?!”
6'6", 225-pound Hakeem Butler #Cyclones running the whip route well enough that Iowa's CB must attempt a tackle.
Don't care if the play was unsuccessful for Butler. The route is a compelling example of this prospect's ability. pic.twitter.com/0r4JTddVW1
— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) January 17, 2019
This play is an impressive moment from a failed outcome. Even on a day where he catches 3 passes for 35 yards, Butler shows so much that’s worth your attention.
He can drop his weight for sudden stops. He can set up hard and speed breaks with hard sprints off the line that sell the vertical route with his pads over his knees. He can defeat the jam with a combination of moves. He works back to the ball, and he attacks the target with good catching technique.
All in a tall, lithe, and powerful frame.
Butler’s mobility, intensity, and budding technique as a route runner are compelling factors in his portfolio of work. There are some issues as a pass catcher but even the technique flaws tend to be products of something disrupting his focus.
More on this at another time. Even with the occasional drops, there’s a lot to love.
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