Vernon Butler was a two-star recruit from North Pike HS in Summit, Mississippi. Butler was recruited by Mississippi and Mississippi State, but decided to play for Louisiana Tech instead. He was a back-up in his freshman and sophomore seasons, but finally became a full time starter as a junior. He enters the 2016 NFL Draft as a potential late first round draft pick.
|DOB||June 14, 1994||Bench (225 lbs)||26|
|Weight||323 lbs||Broad Jump||8’8″|
|Arms||35.125 in||20 Yard Shuttle||4.76 sec|
|Hands||10.75 in||3 Cone Drill||7.82 sec|
|40 Yard Dash (10 yd split)||5.33 sec (1.83 sec)||60 Yard Shuttle||DNP|
Stats and Awards
|Louisiana Tech University (2012-2015)|
|2015 – 50 tackles (10.0 for loss), 3.0 sacks, 2 PDs||First Team All-Conference USA, First Team All-Louisiana|
|2014 – 53 tackles (13.0 for loss), 1.0 sack, 1 PD, 1 FF|
|2013 – 43 tackles (4.5 for loss), 1.0 sack|
|2012 – 21 tackles (1.5 for loss)|
Vernon Butler is an ideal sized defensive lineman standing at 6’4″ 325 lbs with 35 inch arms. Using his burst between the tackles and length, his best fit is one-gapping in the NFL.
The first issue I saw with Vernon Butler is that there was way too many missed opportunities, especially against weaker competition.
In this first play versus Western Kentucky, Butler lines up as a 3-tech shading the outside shoulder of the right guard. The guard pulls to lead block for the running back, and the center down blocks to fill his gap. The center steps too far forward allowing Vernon Butler to slip past him. An ideal opportunity for Butler.
The running back fakes outside, then cuts underneath Butler’s outstretched arms to fight for an extra couple of yards. This should have been a four yard loss, but it’s only a loss of two.
In the New Orleans Bowl game, Butler had two missed tackles against Arkansas State. The first was on a Counter Of from shotgun. Vernon Butler lines up as a 4i-tech defensive end. The right tackle (#72) forces him inside, but Butler shifts back outside. Good move.
The running back lowers his shoulder and Butler can’t finish the tackle spinning away from him like a top. It’s possible that #72 pulled him down from behind, which could explain the dramatic spin to the ground, but from this angle it’s inconclusive.
As a side note, watch #19 in the backfield as he attempts to block #24 of the defense. He lowers his head and flattens his back with absolutely zero hip flexibility to attempt this block. This is how you get injured. Absolutely terrible blocking form and I hope his coach saw this too.
The second missed tackle of the game was on a zone stretch to the right. The right guard assumes the center will pick up Butler and disengages, but the center thinks the opposite. A clear miscommunication with neither picking up Butler.
Butler’s angle into the backfield is too sharp so he is forced to turn his body towards the sideline mid-tackle. He dives at the legs of the running back and misses, but #2 sets the edge perfectly finishing the tackle for him.
Obviously, Butler didn’t miss every open opportunity. The following play shows Butler’s burst off the line of scrimmage. The right guard disengages leaving the right tackle with an impossible block. Butler makes the most of it and is able to pull the running back down for a tackle-for-loss.