Found August 26, 2013 on
PPR Fantasy Football:
I don’t know why, but it seems like every off-season I become infatuated with an unknown wide receiver in Oakland. Last year it was Rod Streater, the year before that Denarius Moore and even Jacoby Ford to a degree. I guess I’m hoping against hope that someone in Oakland is eventually going to emerge as a legitimate WR2 and I don’t want to miss the bus. I’ve literally been chasing this dream since the Raiders shocked the world and chose Darrius Heyward-Bey with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Then out of the blue, Brice Butler walks into my life and reinforces my obsession.
Butler has been one of the few surprises in Oakland’s training camp and through two preseason games, is looking like he will eventually take over the reigns as the WR3. Fortunately, he is competing against one player (Ford) who can’t stay healthy and a remarkably pedestrian Juron Criner for the right to own the job.
If you missed week one of the preseason, you missed one of the best highlight reel plays to this point where Butler completely laid out to make a 30 yard touchdown catch in the end zone. It was a thing of beauty. Not even a week later he earned “some” first team reps and followed it up with another strong performance against New Orleans in week two with three catches for 38 yards on four targets. Even one of his own teammates (Ford) has gone as far as suggesting Butler has put himself squarely in the mix to win the WR1 job in Oakland. Statements like those always force me to dig a little deeper and see what this guy was all about.
As I was digging, I found myself becoming more and more intrigued with this seventh round pick. His measurables are exactly what I’m looking for. Since Butler was not invited to the combine, let’s take a closer look at his pro day.
40 Time: 4.37
Three Cone: 6.70
Broad Jump: 10’09”
20 Yd Dash: 2.58
10 Yd Dash: 1.54
*Did not participate in the Bench Press*
There is nothing here suggesting you shouldn’t be impressed. He is the prototypical size, has elite speed and his three cone drill makes some of the smaller running backs in the league jealous. At his height and weight, you have to have an insane amount of wiggle in order to perform that well in the three cone drill. He’s also a very legitimate red zone threat with a 39” vertical. Based on these overall numbers, he would have an impressive list of comparables like Kenny Britt, Stephen Hill, Braylon Edwards and Javon Walker. In a nutshell, I’d say the best way to describe Butler in one word is explosive – that in itself makes him worthy of a rostering in my eyes.
It is also noteworthy his former wide receivers coach at USC (now the current wide receivers coach in Oakland) Ted Gilmore was impressed enough over the years with his skills, he lobbied hard for the Raiders to take a shot on him in the seventh round. It also never hurts when you have an NFL heritage as well. His father Bobby Butler was selected in the first round of the NFL Draft and played defensive back for the Atlanta Falcons for 12 seasons.
So far everything I’ve mentioned about Butler is all rainbows and butterflies, but there is a big reason he fell until the seventh round of the draft – production. Over the course of four collegiate seasons, Butler put up a total stat line of 65/907/7 and that includes the two bowl games he played in. It’s actually quite ironic because Streater had similar numbers coming out of college as well. Nevertheless, I’m not so much concerned with what he did in college, as much as I’m concerned about what he’s doing now and that’s turning heads on a daily basis. Personally, I try to not look too far into collegiate productivity because the past is the past. You can’t change it. All a player can do is move forward and make the best of their new opportunities. Butler seems to be doing exactly that.
For dynasty owners who crave instant gratification, Butler is your guy. I think we will find out sooner than later if this kid can play or not. He’s not going to be the type of player you have to sit on for 2-3 years before he realizes his potential. He landed in a situation desperate for talent (which oozes from his pores), so I believe he will be on the field early and often as soon as week one. Success will determine if his playing time increases or decreases. From what I’ve been reading, he is also lining up in the slot – this indicates to me he’s been studying the playbook relentlessly in order to line up at multiple spots. My gut says his playing time will only increase throughout the year.
The word is getting out fast on Butler and if you haven’t already made it a priority to snatch him off the waiver wire, time is of the essence. If he is available, I’d literally run (don’t pull a hammy, though) to the computer to pick him up right now. If he’s already owned, I’d either wait for someone to drop him for the next flavor of the week or start off trade negotiations with a third round pick. Another idea would be to try to get someone to throw him in on a trade you may already be working on. The worst they can say is “no.”
Could Butler be the Raider I’ve been seeking out for so many years? Only time will tell.
Follow me on Twitter @harahduh2
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