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2017 NFL Draft Prospect profile: Jake Butt, TE, Michigan

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Could the Giants take a chance on an injured tight end?

Michigan v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Last year we saw one of the top prospects in the entire draft suffer a devastating knee injury in his last collegiate game. Jaylon Smith fell from a potential top-5 pick to the second day of the draft. His injury created a discussion leading up to this year’s bowl games about whether top prospects will play or sit out the games to avoid injury. Some, such as Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette chose to sit out the games, but Michigan’s Jake Butt elected to play in Michigan’s Orange Bowl. That game he suffered a torn ACL and injured MCL, but said after the game that skipping never crossed his mind, and he would do nothing different.

The New York Giants need to add talent at the tight end position, but can they still consider Butt?

Measurables

Height - 6 feet, 5 inches

Weight - 250 pounds

40 Time - *injured

Pros

  • Well-rounded tight end who is a capable blocker and receiver.
  • Soft, reliable hands. Runs savvy routes and adjusts to the ball well.
  • Good at finding the soft spots in coverages
  • Size and receiving ability make him a good redzone threat
  • Can play in-line, in the slot, or out of the backfield
  • Coached by a former NFL head coach in a pro-style offense, shortening his learning curve.

Cons

  • Suffered a torn ACL in his final collegiate game (Orange Bowl on December 30th). His availability for his rookie season is in question.
  • A solid, but not spectacular athlete before his injury.
  • A good receiver and blocker, but not dominant at either.

Does He Fit With The Giants?

As it stands now: No.

The Giants have made a conscious effort to improve their team health and limit injury riskis. Drafting a player who is recovering from a serious knee injury runs completely counter to that, and there is no guarantee that he will ever be the player he was before his injury.

Before the injury, I would have welcomed him to the Giants with open arms, though I’m not sure how the Giants would feel. They might never have been high on him and might prefer to add a more athletic option who can stress a defense rather than exploit its existing holes.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - N/A

Mocking The Draft - N/A

CBS Sports - 148th overall

Draft Countdown - N/A

Draft Tek - 155th overall

Final Thoughts

Before his injury I had Butt as my top tight end. He might not have been as athletic as some of the other tight ends in this class, but he is obviously well-coached in a pro-style system. That alone has value because he could contribute immediately on Day 1. But beyond that, his game reminds me of nobody so much as Jason Witten, and after watching that smart but boring tight end carve a Hall of Fame career out of linebacking corps league-wide (and especially the Giants), I couldn’t have Butt any less than my top tight end. He is pro-ready and would show up every Sunday for years.

Until his injury.

He might still come back and play at a pro-bowl level and have a HOF career of his own, but after the Giants spent three years as the NFL’s “Injury Dynasty,” a player coming off a torn ACL just four months before the draft gives me major pause.