Position: Tight End
School: Michigan Wolverines
Jake Butt 2017 NFL Draft Profile
Jake Butt has been making plays for the Maize and Blue for four seasons. Butt was a four-star recruit in high school coming out of Pickerington, Ohio. Despite being the fifth-ranked tight end in the country and eighth-rated player in the state of Ohio, Butt went out of his home state and spurned Ohio State for the “team up north,” choosing their rival Michigan. Butt always showed up for the big rivalry game as well, compiling 19 catches, 232 yards and two touchdowns in his four games against Ohio State.
Butt spent his first two collegiate seasons behind Devin Funchess on the depth chart. Still, he found playing time and was a contributor instantly. As a freshman, he caught 20 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns. In his sophomore campaign, he put up 21 catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns.
When Funchess went to the NFL, it was time for Butt to explode onto the scene. With new head coach Jim Harbaugh, Butt was instantly a key piece of the offense with 51 catches, 654 yards, and three touchdowns. It was enough to get Mackey Award consideration as the best tight end in college football and had him named to the All-Big Ten team.
In 2016, it was more of the same for the star tight end. He put up 46 receptions for 546 yards and four touchdowns. This was enough for Butt to win the Mackey Award and got him his second All-Big 10 nod of his career. Unfortunately for Butt, his career ended on one of the worst notes possible. He tore his ACL in the Citrus Bowl, and now his rookie season may be one focused on rehabilitation rather than playing. There is no doubt it will harm his draft stock. The question now becomes how much?
- Ideal tight end size.
- Active blocker.
- Able to find soft spots in the zone.
- Great hands.
- Strong route runner, especially with double moves.
- Ability to make catches in traffic.
- Great red zone option.
- Tends to get grabby while blocking, and may see holding calls in the NFL.
- Strong blocker for his class, but still has a lot of refining to do.
- Lacks explosion off of the line.
- Does not have breakaway speed or athleticism.
- Obvious injury concerns after serious knee injury in Orange Bowl.
NFL Comparison: Jack Doyle
Teams with needs at position: Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans, New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets
Projection: third round
Butt is one of the more consistent tight end prospects in the draft. He still has work to do as a blocker, but he is willing and has enough form to hold up as an inline blocker. On top of that, he knows his role and limitations in the passing game. He can you remind you of Heath Miller in how he consistently finds the soft spots of the zone, and sit in them to continually move the ball and convert third downs. He is a great combination of a high effort blocker, and an exceptional receiver, in a time where most tight end prospects either bring one facet or the other.
Without his injury, the second round would have been the absolute floor for Butt. However, with the potential that his rookie year may be a wash, he will certainly slide past that area now. However, given a low floor, and consistent production if he can get healthy, with his medicals showing well, he should not drop much further than the third round.