Adam Butler, an unsigned rookie free agent defensive linemen out of Vanderbilt, has turned heads in the last week of Patriots training camp. Saturday’s scrimmage had him showing up in quite a few reports:
One name to keep an eye on: rookie DT Adam Butler. Continues to see reps with Flowers/Wise in sub defense packages.
— Kevin Duffy (@KevinRDuffy) August 5, 2017
Another undrafted player to watch is DT Adam Butler. He’s also getting some playing time with the starters. Looks like an interior rusher
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 5, 2017
Greg Bedard (Boston Sports Journal):
DT Adam Butler continues to be impressive. The best young interior pass rusher. Little weak against the run.
Butler was one of the undrafted rookies that I didn’t take a close enough look at in the preseason, despite him checking a number of versatility boxes — he played all along the defensive line and even some offensive line.
Now it appears that the undrafted rookie could have a shot at actually making the team. Granted we’re just 10 days into camp and have yet to see him in any game action, but on a team famous for their undrafted rookies, Butler appears to be making an early push.
Let’s take a closer look at Butler and what he might bring to the Pats.
A good place to start with Butler is the press conference video attached to this Scout.com profile. Butler mentions that he’d trade all his sacks for the one missed tackle he had. Butler’s speed has stood out at camp, but you get a better sense of the kind of player he is with that response. Yes, very Pats-y.
All of Butler’s sacks, and almost all of his tackles for loss came against SEC competition. Against the best competition he was at his best. And let’s face it, if you can play well in the SEC you can probably play. He also recorded at least one tackle in every game, showing good consistency. And in the Camping World Independence Bowl he had one of the best games of the season with seven tackles.
He also blocked two field goals at Vanderbilt while consistently improving over the course of his college career.
In high school he was a two-time captain, playing left tackle as a junior and senior after starting out as a defensive end. So all in all, he sure does sound like the kind of guy that could fit in around Foxboro.
With the departures of Chris Long, Jabaal Sheard and Rob Ninkovich, the Patriots have holes to fill in their front seven. Butler, at 6’4″, 300 pounds, has good size to play a number of spots up front. The most immediate might be as a sub interior rusher, where I had pencilled Derek Rivers in.
Butler’s speed could be an asset, especially since the Patriots have trended away from penetrating defensive tackles in recent seasons. There just aren’t many guys like Butler on the roster, and that ability to add a new dimension to the defense on passing downs, could help win him a roster spot.
You can never have too many pass rushers, but Butler will have to translate his practice success into success against the Jags, both in practice and in Thursday night’s game.
If he does that he’ll officially be off to a great start and the Patriots might’ve just found another undrafted rookie who makes their deep and talented roster.