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NAME: Hakeem Butler

SCHOOL: Iowa State

CONFERENCE: Big 12

POSITION: WR

CLASS: RS Junior

JERSEY: No. 18

RECRUITMENT RATING: 2-star

HT: 6’6

WT: 225 lbs

D.O.B.: 05/16/1996



Route Running –Pretty tight and can be lethargic at the top of hard stems. Needs to get more effective in footwork at the LOS to shed press coverage. Most effective in vertical concepts to build momentum and use long strides to force errors in leveraged coverage.

Hands –Struggled at times when having to work back to the football to cleanly catch the nose of the football. Can be late to flash his hands and let defenders get into his breadbasket. Has had some eye-popping one handed catches, just inconsistent with hands receptions.

Contested Catch Ability –Red zone and back shoulder monster. True “power forward” receiver who is a nightmare as he’s receiving the catch. Has plucked the ball off the forehead of defenders above the rim. Knows how to leverage himself and box out. Super physical.

Run After Catch Ability Total bully, pounds the tar out of cornerbacks at the catch point with his free arm and shows surprising mobility through his frame to catch his balance and look to continue up the field. Open field vision is strong to be braced for late arriving tacklers.

Football IQ –Room for improvement in technique, particularly in more quick hitting routes and releases. Has good body control and awareness along the boundary to get a foot in when targeted in tight spaces. Has likable fake breaks on nine routes and deep posts.

Vertical Receiving –Has build-up speed and has shown effectiveness stacking coverage vertically. Big play receiver when able to elevate or use catch radius in high point situations down the field. Yields a lot of chunk plays thanks to ball skills and body adjustment.

Change of Direction Skills –Does not possess a lot of lateral agility, thanks in large part to his size and lengthy strides. Needs to continue working on step efficiency to minimize impact on route stem. Suddenness is best on hard stops via curl/hook routes.

Speed –Requires a runway to get up to any notable speed but does have the length and strides to eat up real estate quickly beyond the first ten yards. Play speed is tempered through his breaks, uninspiring in hard breaks into the MOF or working to the boundary.

Competitive Toughness –Functional play strength is excellent. Imposes his will as a blocker and at the catch point. That said, can struggle due to leverage issues along the LOS and get blown up trying to work up his route stems. Impressive possession play before and after catch out of his breaks.

Blocking Ability –Length for days, will lock out and set his arms effectively on corners along the boundary. Shows good strength through the hands and mobility to slide along the alley and ensure he’s got an established crease for ball carriers.


PROSPECT COMPARISON – Mike Williams

BEST TRAIT – Contested Catches

WORST TRAIT – COD Skills

BEST FILM – Washington State (2018)

WORST FILM – Iowa (2018)

RED FLAGS – None

Hakeem Butler offers a promising skill set in a vertical offense. Butler has phenomenal flashes in contested situations and as a vertical receiver, but needs to add further polish to his releases against press to consistently stack defenders in the NFL. Butler lacks quickness at the top of hard angled breaks but has the size to further develop himself and create separation for himself. Look for Butler to develop through his first 3 seasons and eventually be a starting X-receiver.

PROS: Impossible long frame. Wide shoulders with Inspector Gadget arms and strong hands away from his body. Big strides that can eat up ground in a hurry, offering deceptive burst off the line of scrimmage and through route breaks. Has an accordingly large catch radius and addresses the ball well in the air, with over-the-shoulder, back-shoulder, and high-point catches all present on tape. Does well to box out early in downfield reps with a nice willingness to bring physicality and play bully ball.

Surprisingly effective YAC player despite moderate change of direction ability and upright frame. Has some excellent lower body strength to drag would-be tacklers forward; thinner torso and hips absorb blows across the middle of the field surprisingly well. Cannot be addressed with arm tackles and often requires multiple secondary players to rally to the football. Excellent third down target because of willingness to fight for the line to gain.

Stellar blocker downfield who takes his job seriously. Clearly a high-energy player.

CONS: While explosive and strong, not particularly agile in part because of high-waisted frame. Route tree was more diverse in 2017, in which slot reps were more prevalent — is a bit limited to the vertical tree as an outside receiver for the Cyclones. Accordingly, does not have much deception laced in his route stems. Has head fakes but lacks the quickness out of them to really separate; mostly wins leverage and creates a throwing window, but will need to continue being successful through contact at the NFL level.

Will sometimes allow ball to eat up his frame instead of catching with natural technique, though this seems to be more of a situational/judgment issue rather than a laziness/technique issue. Finer points of wide receiver play will likely come with time, as NFL play limits his current ability to bully everyone with size.