Being an Ohio native who went to play for "that team up north" brings almost as much ridicule as the Wolverine tight end's unfortunate last name. He's learned to deal with both, however, on his way to consecutive second-team Associated Press All-American seasons. In fact, he had the best games of his freshman and sophomore seasons against Ohio State, scoring in each game and totaling nine catches for 110 yards (he had 41 catches for 446 yards and three scores in total in 2013-2014). In Butt's junior and senior seasons, he was the Big Ten Conference Tight End of the Year (51-654, three TDs in 2015; 46-546, four TDs in 2016). Unfortunately, Butt suffered a torn right ACL in their Citrus Bowl loss to Florida State.
Has NFL size and steps up big in the passing game. Strong hands are like magnets. Can snatch and secure at the catch point. Tough and reliable when working in traffic. Fearless in the middle of the field and understands how to protect himself and the ball while there. Slick with hands. Has slap move to free himself off line of scrimmage and able to create separation at top of his route with sly push-offs. Sinks into space and chews up zone coverage. Play attributes will help him win in the red zone. Effective in intermediate work adjusting routes according to defensive positioning. Competitive after catch with ability to add to his yardage through force. Team co-captain.
A little cumbersome getting off the line and into his routes. Very average athleticism. One-speed runner without many gears. Lacks speed to threaten vertically. Upright into and out of his breaks. Acceleration out of his cuts can be slight. Separation often comes from rub routes and scheme. NFL linebackers should be able to stick him in coverage. Limited catch radius. Grabby as a blocker and takes questionable angles up to second level. Allows physical outside linebackers to set strong edges against him. Needs more commitment and work as a run-blocker on NFL level.
Sources Tell Us
"He's going to be a good pro. Everyone wants Kelce, Olsen or Gronk but those are elite players. Butt is dependable and will make first downs. They all get better as blockers once they get up here." -- AFC director of scouting
In-line tight end with strong, natural hands and the toughness to make a living in the middle of the field as a chain-moving safety blanket. While he's shown ability to operate as an intermediate target as well, he might lack the athleticism and separation to uncover against NFL safeties and some linebackers in man coverage. Butt must improve greatly as a blocker to reach his potential as a Y tight end. However, his ability as a reliable, productive target should earn him an early starter's nod with a chance to become a solid pro.