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2016 NFL Draft: Should the Giants draft DT Vernon Butler?

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Vernon Butler looks like the defensive tackles the Giants have drafted in recent years, but does he play like them?

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants' defensive line needs work, and while the defensive tackle positions are in better shape than the ends, it is tough to call it a strength.

Johnathan Hankins is an established beast, but with inconsistent play around him, there is only so much he can do by himself. Jay Bromley played well but didn't see much playing time until the end of the year. Montori Hughes is a fun nose tackle, but that's about all, and while Louis Nix has potential, that's all it is at the moment.

So could the Giants look to add another defensive tackle in the 2016 Draft? If so, they might look to Louisiana Tech's Vernon Butler.

Measurables

Pros

  • Prototypical size for the position, carries his weight well. Long (34 1/8") arms
  • Powerful player who can clog running lanes in the middle
  • Surprising quickness for his size. Combined with his long arms and dangerous swim and rip moves, he is a threat as a pass rusher
  • Build and athleticism give him scheme versatility. He should be able to play any defensive tackle alignment
  • High motor player who seems to love football and always plays hard

Cons

  • Sometimes struggles with pad level
  • Uses several moves, but technique still needs refinement
  • High motor but conditioning always has to be a concern with bigger players

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Mocking The Draft - 60th overall

CBS - 49th overall

Draft Tek - 149th overall

Does He Fit with The Giants?

In a word: Yes

In more words: Yes, Vernon Butler absolutely fits with the New York Giants defense. While we don't know exactly how the Giants' defensive evaluations will change with Ben McAdoo as head coach, Butler is exactly the type of player the Giants have loved to have at the defensive tackle position. He can play 3-technique (lining up between the guard and tackle) or the 1-technique (between the guard and center), rush the passer or stop the run. Bromley looks like he could be a good player, and probably should have been a starter all season, but Hughes and Nix are unknowns right now.

Butler has sky-high upside and seems to have a high floor as well.

Final Thoughts

I've seen Butler compared to Muhammed Wilkerson and Hankins. That's some high praise, and I can see both. Perhaps he is a wide-bodied Wilkerson, or perhaps he is a longer-armed Hankins. Either way, that's a player you want to have on your defensive line.

The defensive tackle position is an underrated cog in a strong defense. There is no better way to affect a quarterback than busting his pocket and getting pressure up the middle. It disrupts that particular play and also starts to degrade the quarterback's technique.

Butler has been one of the stand-outs in Senior Bowl practices, and may have worked his way into the first round of the draft, but this is a very deep defensive tackle class. If he happens to be there at pick 40, he would fit perfectly with the Giants' tradition of drafting talented defensive tackles in the second round.