Photo of Vernon Butler
Drafted By: Panthers
  • Round 1
  • Pick 31
  • Overall 30

Combine Results

6.18 ?
  • 5.33 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 26 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 29.5 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 104.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 7.82 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.76 SEC
    Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"With Butler, think Linval Joseph, think Michael Brockers. This is a big, power guy, and the Panthers love these type of players. He runs to the ball, and you can't teach that." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'4" Height
  • 35 1/8" Arm Length
  • 323LBS. Weight
  • 10 3/4" Hands


A big body in the middle of the Bulldogs' defense, Butler proved in his two years as a starter that he has the girth and nimble feet to clog up running lanes. Conference USA coaches rectified their error in not giving Butler all-conference recognition in 2014 (56 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss) by voting him first-team All-C-USA after his senior year (50 tackles, 10 TFL, three sacks, eight quarterback hurries). NFL teams will not miss the opportunity to add Butler to their interior.

Pro Day Results

40-yard dash: 5.15 seconds
Vertical: 33 1/2 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 3 inches



Long-­armed knee-bender who can play the role of low man at the point of attack. Plays with strong hands and good arm extension and can "peek­a­boo" both gaps as he reads which hole the running back heads for. Impressive stack and shed timing and power. Able to eat up double teams and keep his linebackers clean when asked to. Excellent athleticism. Can make plays all along the line of scrimmage. If blocker doesn't finish, Butler will work himself back into the play. Able to coordinate hands and feet smoothly and has change of direction and closing burst to become a dominant pass rusher from inside. Can slide from gap to gap as a pass rusher and is a perfect fit for twist-­based defense. Generally attacks gaps with forward lean and ability to corner the edge when he has his man beat. Can stutter-­step into pass rush to disrupt offensive lineman’s timing or generate a speed-­to-­power bull rush that can severely dent a pocket. Gives consistent effort and plays like a lead dog looking to eat.


Build is athletic, but a little bit top heavy. Will play with inconsistent base when his pad level gets too high trying to win through the gaps. Will try to out-muscle his opponent when his initial pass rush gets stuck in neutral, rather than use counter moves. For all of his potential and talent, wasn't as productive as NFL scouts are used to. Plays with some wasted energy and motion and needs to work more efficiently.

Draft Projection

Rounds 1 or 2

NFL Comparison

Muhammad Wilkerson

Bottom Line

Athletic interior lineman with long arms and outstanding athleticism that allows him to work on offensive linemen with a combination of power and quickness. Butler has a raw but diverse skillset as a pass rusher that should excite NFL evaluators who see the potential of what he can be with more coaching and experience. With his effort and defensive ball awareness, his ceiling appears to be high with a chance to become a high-­level starter for an odd or even front defense.
-Lance Zierlein
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-9.00 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl to All-Pro Ability
6.50-6.99 Good NFL Starter with Pro Bowl Potential
6.00-6.49 Chance to become good NFL starter
5.70-5.99 Could become early NFL starter
5.30-5.69 Backup or eventual starter
5.15-5.29 Developmental prospect or special teams potential
5.01-5.14 Back end of the roster
5.00 50/50 Chance of making the roster