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.