40 time: 5.02
Projection: Third-Fourth Round
OVERVIEW: Terrorized SEC offenses and getting an extra year through COVID eligibility has helped him emerge. Led Tennessee's defensive line in tackles three straight years, collecting 135 total from 2019 to 2021. While not a dominant producer as a pass-rusher in 2019 or 2020, output improved significantly in his final year. Notched five sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss although he was a surprising snub from 2021 All-SEC honors. Leaves Tennessee as a 26-game starter, East-West Shrine Game invitee, and a semifinalist for the 2021 William V. Campbell Trophy.
Strengths: Quick off the snap and won't give blockers breathing room. Natural hand combinations. Transitions easily from move to move. Impressive 82-inch wingspan provides a lot of room to work with his tackle radius. Good ball tracker. Shifts angles efficiently and makes himself a wider roadblock than his size would indicate. Explosiveness has drawn double teams at times in college. Hand usage can be frenzied at times. Has legitimate penetration ability thanks to his first step.
Weaknesses: Stiff in the lower half and struggles to make sharp turns without getting out of control or stumbling. Unable to redirect momentum once he commits. Linear pass-rusher only succeeds going forward rather than laterally. Unlikely to have defensive end flexibility as a pro. Power is good for his size, but it won't be enough to knock back bigger guards.
Pro Comp: Hassan Ridgeway, Philadelphia Eagles -- Twitched up and lightning quick out of his stance, Butler's ability as a disruptive pass rusher is going to draw a lot of interest from teams. He should be able to find rotational work early on, but could develop into a reliable starter in a couple years.