Could Rex Ryan be coveting the 6'4" 323 pound Vernon Butler to bolster his defensive line? Syracuse.com reporter Matthew Fairburn is reporting that the Louisiana Tech defensive lineman will be making a pre-draft visit to the Bills, per a source. The lineman has earned comparisons to Muhammad Wilkerson, who started out as an athletic, small-school defensive tackle before becoming a leader of the Jets defense.
Butler had 105 tackles (63 solo), 26 tackles for loss, four sacks, and nine QB hurries in his last two seasons at LA Tech. Measuring in with 35.1 inch arms and 10.8 inch hands, he's one of the largest linemen available this year. His Combine workout was a bit of a letdown given his billing as a lineman with rare mobility, but he improved his metrics at the LA Tech pro day, running a 5.05 forty yard dash (in the 63rd percentile for defensive tackles), leaping 33.5 inches (90th percentile), and broad jumping 111 inches (83rd percentile).
Sheldon Rankins is the best defensive tackle in this class, but in terms of upside, Vernon Butler ranks very high. He would give Buffalo a versatile lineman who can play anywhere from nose tackle to defensive end (similar to the way Marcell Dareus can be used), a player who can stop the run, is developing his pass rush, and can swat down passes. Butler is still developing, but it's obvious why the Bills would like him.
Would you be willing to use a first round pick on Butler?