Percy Butler is an experienced defensive back for the Ragin’ Cajuns who has seen significant playing time since his freshman year in 2018. Butler has been a reliable player at the safety position. Going into the 2021 season, Butler received a lot of hype and was able to put together a good season and attract the attention of scouts—something that is hard to do as a defensive back in the Sun Belt Conference. Butler serves as a reliable run-fit defender for the Ragin’ Cajuns. He has the instincts to properly diagnose run plays and work downhill toward the line of scrimmage. Butler doesn’t have any exceptional athletic traits, but in the NFL, he can make some teams if he is able to use his natural instincts as a player.
Ideal Role: Back-up safety
Scheme Fit: Cover 2
Written by Keith Sanchez
Games watched: Texas (2021), Appalachian State (2021), Troy (2021), Appalachian State CC (2021)
Best Game Studied: Troy (2021)
Worst Game Studied: Texas (2021)
Football IQ: Butler seems to have sufficient overall IQ. From the safety position, he can recognize pass and run and react accordingly. However, Butler will overrun plays and at times take bad angles and give up big runs.
Tackling: This is an area that Butler can use improvement. Butler will make contact with ball-carriers but often fails to big them to the ground. He needs to work on wrapping up ball-carriers. He will also lunge at ball-carriers at times, leaving his feet and giving him no power to tackle with. Butler is a willing tackler but needs to work on his effectiveness.
Versatility: I don’t believe that Butler has much positional versatility. He has limited range when he plays the high-post safety. And he also misjudges run angles from that position. I believe that Butler’s best position is close to the line of scrimmage where he can reduce angles and already be in position to make the tackle.
Range: Butler’s range in both pass defense and run defense is limited. Playing the run, Butler lacks elite closing speed and outruns the angle on plays where he should have the angle to tackle the ball-carrier. In pass defense, Butler lacks the range to cover sideline to sideline and break up passes when he is the post safety.
Ball Skills: Butler’s range affects his ability to be in position to play the ball. In the sequence of the play, Butler seems to always be a step short of being able to get a hand on the pass for a key pass breakup or deflection. Butler’s best shot at playing the ball is breaking downhill and interfering with a short-to-intermediate route.
Run Defense: Butler is a willing participant in playing the run, but Butler’s run defense can be much improved. He shows to consistently take bad angles and will overrun plays. He also seems hesitant to try to fill the hole to make the tackle.
Functional Athleticism: In the open field, Butler has shown that he can effectively flip his hips and run with receivers down the field. The part of Butler’s athleticism that comes into question is his speed. Butler looks to be a 4.6 guy in his play speed. He struggles to keep up with receivers in the deeper portions of the field.
Competitive Toughness: I believe that Butler competes at a high level but there are elements of this trait that I question. It seems at times that Butler will not act with urgency to get to the ball-carrier. He will also at times side-step a ball-carrier so he does not a full-body tackle in an effort to limit the severity of the contact.
Flexibility: Butler doesn’t seem to have any issues of flexibility that will hinder his ability to play safety. He can change direction and flip his hips when necessary.
Special Teams Ability: Butler will offer value as a special teams player to his next team. Butler doesn’t come off as an extremely physical player but offers the right mentality to win on the third component of the game and is a sufficient athlete to seize a role.
TDN Consensus: 68.67/100 (Sixth Round Value)
Crabbs Grade: 71.50/100
Marino Grade: 71.00/100
Sanchez Grade: 63.50/100