Too quick and athletic for most linebackers and safeties
Sideline skills; good toe-tapping
Soft, natural hands
High points the football
Quickness as a route-runner
Has blocking ability
Improved blocking as a senior
Makes acrobatic, difficult catches
Unafraid across the middle
Finds the soft spots in zone
Three-down tight end potential
Ready to play once healthy
Not a forceful blocker
Can never be a Y (blocking) tight end
Good, but not great, athlete
Good, but not great, speed
Torn ACL in bowl game will impact rookie season
Summary: After Jim Harbaugh rebuilt and Davis Shaw sustained the Stanford program, the Cardinal has produced a number of tight end prospects for the NFL. Players like Coby Fleener, Levine Toilolo, Austin Hooper and Zach Ertz have all been drafted from Stanford. Butt is perfect for the pro-style system Harbaugh runs at Michigan, and thus, Butt should translate extremely well to the NFL.
Butt contributed as a freshman (20-235-2) and sophomore (21-211-2), but took his game to another level under head coach Jim Harbaugh in 2015 as Butt had 51 receptions for 654 yards with three touchdowns. In 2016, Butt notched 46 receptions for 546 yards and four touchdowns but tore his right ACL in Michigan's bowl game. Thus, he could miss some practice time in training camp and might not be ready to start his rookie season.
In the passing-driven NFL, teams are looking for tight ends who can be dangerous receivers, and Butt illustrated that last season. He is a real weapon in the passing game. Butt runs excellent routes and possesses the quickness to get downfield quickly. Butt has reliable hands and is excellent at securing the football, too. He also does a very good job of making leaping contested catches and hanging onto the football while getting hit in the air. Routinely, Butt uses his size, hands, and leaping ability to make receptions over safeties. He is just too big for them to cover.
Even tough Butt isn't ultra fast or uber-athletic, he still shows some run-after-the-catch skills. Butt has deceptive speed and can really hurt defenses going down the middle seam. He is also adept at finding the soft spots in zone and getting open for his quarterback.
While receiving tight ends are in demand, offensive coordinators love three-down tight ends who are capable blockers along with serving as receivers. Butt was a decent blocker for Michigan over the last two years. He isn't a force in the ground game, but he isn't a liability. Butt's run blocking improved as a senior, and he showed more desire, attitude, and fight as a blocker. Having that desire is a big part of what teams are looking for.
As a run blocker, Butt gets in good position and engages his defenders. He could use more strength to sustain his blocks longer as defenders get off his blocks quickly. At the point of attack, Butt doesn't really pack a punch. He does a nice job contributing to double teams on edge rushers though. There are also plays where Butt does a nice job of using his athleticism to get in position to stop speed rushers off the edge. Right now, though as a junior especially, Butt was better in pass protection than run blocking.
For the NFL, Butt should be a three-down starter who is a solid receiver quality blocker. He could be an excellent weapon in the red zone with his leaping and blocking skills. Teams will want Butt to improve his blocking, but he has the potential to be a three-down starter who is a nice contributor to a passing attack.
Player Comparison: Jeremy Shockey. Butt reminds me of a poor man's Shockey. Shockey (6-5, 251) and Butt are similar athletes with size and receiving skills. In the NFL, I think Butt could be a tight end similar to Shockey, although not quite as good.
NFL Matches: Houston, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Denver, New York Giants, New York Jets and Pittsburgh
There are a lot of teams that could use tight end help, and Butt could be in demand in the middle of the 2017 NFL Draft. On Day 2, there are a lot of potential landing spots for Butt. The Texans badly need a receiving tight end to pair with C.J. Fiedorowicz. Butt would be an instant upgrade to the Houston offense. On the second day of the draft, Butt could be a top target for the Texans' third-round pick.
Staying in the AFC South, Tennessee could use a tight end to pair with Delanie Walker, as Walker didn't close out the season in great fashion. Indianpolis could use a tight end to replace Dwayne Allen, and Butt could interest the Colts in the mid-rounds. The Jaguars need to replace Julius Thomas, and Butt could be a good fit for them.
Tampa Bay has wanted the two-tight end set to be a big part of its offense. Cameron Brate has turned into the secondary tight end, but Austin Seferian-Jenkins didn't work out as the primary. Butt could give the Bucs that receiving weapon for Jameis Winston.
Denver has some blocking tight ends, but the team could use a receiving tight end. Butt could be a nice weapon for Paxton Lynch, and the Broncos have two third-round picks. The Giants need a tight end upgrade for Eli Manning, and Butt could interest them. Staying in the Big Apple, the Jets could use more tight end talent to go with Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
For Pittsburgh, Jesse James is just a backup quality tight end while Ladarius Green had injury issues in 2016. Butt could be a quick upgrade for the Steelers once he's healthy.