Darrius Butler

Corner Back UConn-

5-10 3/8, 178, 

4.36, 43", 4.19 SS,

Darrius Butler 2008

Patriots.com Video

FF Toolbox's Profile

Butler on Utube

Butler's profile on CBS Sports

Boston Globe's Post Draft Analysis

 

Minicamp:

Great article about Chung, with a Stat I somehow missed? "Butler, who had 10 career interceptions at UConn, didn't have a pickoff last season because teams were afraid to throw at him. The South Florida native had more receptions and touchdowns his senior season than the receivers he blanketed."

My Review Of Darius Butler:

Post-Draft:

I had Darrius Butler going in the 1st Round to the Dolphins, and I had him as my 23rd rated player. I had him rated at my top pure CB. The only DB I had rated above him was Malcolm Jenkins, who I saw more as a FS in the Patriot's system. He is a steal at pick 41. The Pats had the worst secondary in the NFL last season (Besides Detroit, but they don't count because they weren't really in the NFL last season). So really drafting a Corner wouldn't be a total shock. Once the Pats sign Springs and Bodden I didn't think they would draft a CB early, because they had 5 good ones on their roster. I put in why I didn't think the Pats needed a CB Pre-Draft below. However, Butler was just way too much value in this crappy Draft to pass on at 41, and was probably the deciding factor in the subsequent trading of Ellis Hobbs. Plus, it makes even more since if you consider the Salary Cap savings of dumping Hobbs and trading out of the 1st Round saved the Pats saved almost 3 Million in Cap-dollars, which is just the price tag I put on Jason Taylor;-) 

I watched Butler play three games last season, and watched him at the Senior Bowl where he really looked good. He had a great Combine, and really exploded on his Proday when he ran a 4.36. He has the smoothest transition out of his backpedal of any CB in this Draft. He really plays with excellent knee bend. He has great feet and great hips which allow him to backpedal low and quick and snap out of his transition to cover WRs. He is silky smooth on the field. He seems to lack suddenness in changing direction, but he is so smooth that he gets there just as quickly; He just doesn't look rushed or out of control, ever. He is the smoothest DB in this Draft at changing direction. He really is much more of an explosive athlete than he is given credit for. He ran the fastest forty of any CB at the Combine (in the year when the NFL was trying to control costs by slowing forty times;-). He is a short CB, but tall by Pat's standards, and he is an explosive leaper. He has the second best Vertical leap of any player at the Combine, a very impressive 43". he has phenomenal short area quickness, which is essential to the CB position, and ran a terrific 4.19 in the Short Shuttle at the Combine. He can shadow a man and really stick to his hips. He is very smart. He studies film and knows what the WR he is covering likes to do. He is quick to read and react, and will come up quickly to support the run. However, he is not a physical run-stuffer by any means. In fact, the player I have been comparing him to Raymond Clayton the great cover Corner for the Pats in the 70s and 80s. He was a great Cover Corner, but no one would mistake him for Rodney Harrison in run support;-) He also played offence at UConn. He was used as an outside WR, and ran some options and end around. In other words he was the Bizarro world  Troy Brown. Brown was a WR who played some emergency CB, and Butler is a CB who can play some emergence WR;-)       

BB During the Draft:

"Butler is a quality kid. As you mentioned, all the of those guys coming out of that Connecticut program. Butler had a terrific Combine work out. Did well at the Senior Bowl, and we feel like he is another smart high quality kid that should do well for us."

BB Saturday after Day One:

"And then letís talk about the other defensive back,  Butler. (He is) a real good athlete and another good Senior Bowl guy. He had an excellent workout at UConn. Heís a high-quality kid, smart, a very good understanding of the defense, a well conditioned athlete."

You went to Darius Butlerís Pro Day at Connecticut and you obviously had some interest there. Is there anything that he did that day that sealed the deal:

"Well, we knew about him and the other players, too. They had what, four guys go? One in the first and three in the second? And they still had a couple other players that I donít know where they will get drafted, but Iím sure some of them will get drafted and others will be in pro camp. So there were a lot of guys to look at and we had a lot of people over there. Myself, Nick [Caserio] and four or five position coaches. Some of you guys were out in [California], sunning it up at the pool at the ownerís meetings. We were running around doing workouts in Connecticut. So I guess that was worth it. But he had an excellent workout. There is no doubt about it. Heís fast, quick; he has good ball skills. Heís an excellent athlete. I donít think thatís really a question. He showed that at his workout."

Pre-Draft:

Butler is a terrific cover Corner. Has great feet. Transitions out of backpedal better than any CB in this Draft. Looks smooth and natural in backpedal. Can plant his foot and explode in any direction. He has the snap in hips his that make defensive coaches drool. Butler has terrific ball skills and played WR for a few downs every game last season. Has great experience and started 42 games as a four year starter at Connecticut. He has great intangibles and was voted Team Captain twice. Has the best combination of hips, feet, and speed in the Draft. Stepped up and ran 4.38 at his Proday, which caused him to hop over Alphonso Smith, Vontae Davis, and DJ Moore.  

More good news for the Pats is that the 2nd and 3rd Rounds will be filled with undersized Cover Corners as well, and again 40 times will determine their order. Butler actually has pretty good sized, and has eye-popping quickness.

Why I didn't think the Pats needed a CB, Pre-Draft:

The Patriots have done a remarkable job this off season. CB was by far their biggest need. Like I said I think they needed a DB or three. They have grabbed 2 of the top 5 cover Corners available in Free Agency. Shawn Springs is a super freak athlete. If he still ahs his exceptional speed, he is a steal. I have been a fan of his since he came out of Ohio St in 1997, and ran a 4.24 at the Combine. Plus, he is 6' and weighs 207, and he looks like one of those players who can slide over and become a ball-hawking FS. Plus, he has one of my favorite stats, he is the only player to led his teams in sacks and INTs in the same season. Leigh Bodden was one of the most sought after young CBs in the game, after his 2007 season in Cleveland when he garnered 6 INTs, 15 PBU, and 76 Tackles, in only his 5th season. I don't care how you judge a young CB, that is a great season. Then, "duh-duh-daah", he was shipped to Detroit for an All-Pro D-Tackle. On the worst team in the history of the NFL, he started 15 of 16 games, and somehow garnered 61 Tackles, 11 PBU, and 1 INT. And in another of my favorite unusual stats, he was the only DB on the Lions last season who actually got an Interception, remarkable. He also has good size, 6-1 193, and with his tackling abilities, he to could make the switch to Safety. I don't think they need a Corner, they also have Hobbs, Terrence Wheatley, and Jonathon Wilhite. Hobbs gets a lot of grief in this town because of his lack of consistency, and though he is not a number one Corner, he is not a bad player. If he is converted to the Nickel Back, he can continue to be one of the top Kick Returners in the League. For those of you not in the New England area, or for those of you who are, but don't pay attention to such things, I thought Wheatley was The best Corner on the Pats during last preseason. He just has that knack for shadowing WRs all over the field. I was shocked when he wasn't starting. I heard rumors that it was because of a technique issue that he was taught at Colorado that he couldn't quite shake off. I think he was using more of a shuffle in Off Coverage rather then the strict NFL backpedal. However, when he played during the Regular season, he was just as effective in coverage, and I still say he does a better job in straight man-to-man coverage than Hobbs. Wilhite was an absolute shock in the final quarter of the season. The quality of his play has been grossly exaggerated, because of the incomprehensibly incompetent coverage of Deltha O'Neal, who was so thankfully put out of our misery on Feb. 27th when he was released. He may be the worst Corner I have ever seen play. Still, there are a lot of echoes of Assante Samuel in Wilhite, and what he did last season: where he was drafted (4th Round same as Assante), dreads, his size (5-9 183 similar to Assante 5-10 185, though he looks 5-9 to me), both had to start games late in their rookie seasons because of injuries (4 starts for Wilhite and 1 for Assante, though Assante actually played more in the Nickel and Dime his rookie year), and they have similar stats as rookies (28 Tackles, 2 PBU and 1 INT Vs 34 TKL 5 PBU 2 INTs). So it is hard to see them taking another CB. However, with 11 picks, they could take Darius Butler here (Pick 23), and still gets quality starters at their need positions in the 2nd Round.   

The Pats have two DBs starting in the secondary, Sanders and Meriweather, while I like them both, they both they are both more SS or in-the-box Safeties. The Pats need a legit FS who can roam the Center field like Eugene Wilson did when he was healthy. Here is an interesting section from BB's Combine press conference, the second I heard this I thought he was describing Rashard Johnson, "I think the safety position is becoming more and more of a corner position in the National Football League. There were times when some of the safeties, particularly the strong safeties, fit more like linebackers, than they did as defensive backs. I think that's changed gradually but not to the point where your defensive backs, they either have to cover wide receivers or they have to cover tight ends who are very good in the passing game ... I think the demands of that position have changed. I think that's changed the evaluation a little bit. I think some of those hybrid guys have played corner and safety, like (Malcolm) Jenkins for example, is a guy that's played both." Not only that, but one of the criticisms leveled at Andre Smith was that Nick Saban was personally tutoring Rashard Johnson and his other senior on what they need to do to improve their stock. Johnson listened and was said to have really impressed Saban, not only during is career their, but also after his career was done and how he focused on what Saban said and did it.