In April, John Dorsey will look to follow a brilliant 2018 draft with another for the Cleveland Browns. There are still holes on both sides of the ball, namely linebacker, cornerback, defensive tackle and wide receiver. The latter can be solved in the middle rounds. Iowa State’s Hakeem Butler is an ideal fit in head coach Freddie Kitchen‘s spread offense.
Hakeem Butler Fits Perfectly in Cleveland
The Browns badly need help at linebacker and cornerback. They should spend early round picks on one or both of those positions. They also still lack a traditional X receiver. Jarvis Landry had a decent season as the number one receiver, but he isn’t a prototypical X. Cleveland needs a wideout with size and strength on the outside. Enter Butler, who stands 6’6″ and weighs 225 pounds. He should be on the board when the Browns select at pick number 80 in the third round. If Cleveland feels it needs to move up in the third round, they could easily package their two third-round picks to do so.
In Butler, the Browns will have a player who can immediately start on the outside, along with either Rashard Higgins or Antonio Callaway. This would allow Landry to play more slot, where he’s proven to be elite. Through four years in Miami, where he played primarily in the slot, Landry amassed 400 catches for just over 4000 yards and 22 touchdowns. Once he has a big-bodied receiver like Butler playing on the outside, Landry will have more room on the inside to do what he does best. The Browns are going to have a strong run game once again in 2019. Nick Chubb is a candidate for 1500 rushing yards, especially with a likely Kareem Hunt suspension looming. With a strong run game, Kitchens can open up the offense with play action and trickery. Butler would be a beneficiary of joining an already explosive offense, and his impact would do wonders for Kitchens and the Browns.
Butler Gives Baker Mayfield a Massive Outside Target
In 2018, Butler caught 60 passes for 1,318 yards and nine touchdowns. He is strong, fast for his size and has a unique ability to high-point the ball and make contested grabs. The main beneficiary of this pick would be second-year starting quarterback Baker Mayfield. It would open up the field and give the young signal-caller another stud target. Mayfield broke the NFL rookie passing touchdown record in 2018 with 27 scores, and with growth and a better supporting cast, there’s no reason to believe that number won’t inflate come 2019. Paired with Kitchens’ aggressive play-calling and Mayfield’s ability to play vertically, Butler could be an immediate target hog and elevate the Browns’ offense to a level Cleveland fans haven’t seen since the early 1990s.
Along with Landry, Higgins and Callaway, Cleveland already boasts an elite receiving back in Duke Johnson and a young tight end with otherworldly potential in David Njoku. The addition of Hakeem Butler would allow the Browns to shore up their defense in the early rounds of the draft. Dorsey has already made a number of splashy moves in his young tenure as the Browns’ general manager. Butler should be his next.
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