Monday - Jan 25, 2021

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Prospects: The Year of the Wide Receiver

Deon Butler will never be confused with a physical specimen, but his frame and game is very reminiscent of a sleeper breakout WR from 2008’s rookie class, Eddie Royal. At 5-foot-10, 180 lbs.,

Butler is almost identical in size and stature as the elder Royal. Like Royal,

Butler is lightning quick, displays tremendous body control and ball-tracking ability, adjusting to the ball well in flight. Also, he is sudden in and out of his routes, exploding out of his breaks, he sees the field well finding soft spots in the zone and uses his technician-like route running to create great separation on short and intermediate routes. Unlike Royal,

Butler has many other facets of his game that indicates he could be everything Royal has been and potentially more. He’s very physical for his size and is not afraid to block downfield, he can get open deep, and with his long arms and plus hands he comes down with most catches you’d think someone of his build would not come down with.

Not one to disappoint, the camp reports so far have been glowing since mini-camps. His performance in preseason Week 2 got him on the map. He made a great play getting behind the coverage and pulled in a perfect pass from Matt Hasselbeck for a 34-yard TD, and later he made an even greater play on a 3rd-and-8 hauling in a tough reception to keep the drive alive across the middle of the field. Like a good rookie, all he had to talk about afterward was how he felt he needed to improve, saying he probably could have gotten more out of that third-down conversion play had he not slowed up on the route because he thought Hasselbeck was going into scramble mode. Always a perfectionist … this is something else that makes

Butler great.

He fell as far as he did in the draft because of his size, the quality of WRs available in this class and his struggles vs. the jam at the line. However,

Seattle traded up to get him for a reason. T.J. Houshmandzadeh was signed to be their No. 1, but

Seattle is searching for their No. 2. Right now it’s Nate Burleson, but after that the job is up for grabs, and given Burleson’s history (injury and performance) the job is not certain to be his forever; he’s replaceable … and

Butler got the start Week 2 because of a Burleson tweaked hamstring. Temper expectations for this season as he may not get the opportunity. However, when an opportunity becomes available, watch out … and snatch this kid up before your competition catches on. This kid’s game is legit.

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