Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2009 Round 4 #110 – Dallas Cowboys – DE Victor Butler

With the 10th pick in the 4th round, the Dallas Cowboys take Oregon State defensive end Victor Butler, apparently with the intention of making him an outside linebacker in the 3-4.  He appears to be a serious project.

Holy crap this is a lousy draft.  Thus far, not a single player likely to compete for a starting job this year. says,


An undersized pass-rush specialist with the Beavers, Butler must make the transition to outside linebacker in the NFL. A standout pass rusher who broke out to register 10.5 sacks as a junior despite only starting one game, Butler was first-team All-Pac-10 and tied the single-season sack record at OSU with 12 as a senior and leaves second in school history with 25.5 career sacks. It was his final two games with the Beavers that really have scouts intrigued. Butler earned Sun Bowl MVP after racking up 11 tackles, including five tackles for loss, four sacks and a forced fumble against Pittsburgh and showed surprising fluidity when operating in coverage while at the East-West Shrine Game.

High School

Three-year letterman as receiver, safety, defensive end and kick returner … Played defensive end only as a senior due to team needs … Two-time all-league and all-county as a senior.


Positives: Rangy build with plenty of room for additional muscle mass. … Good initial burst off the edge as a pass rusher. … Capable of challenging the tackle and flexible enough to bend around the tackle to collapse the pocket. … Good closing speed. … Good lateral quickness and balance to redirect. … Shows some leg drive as a bull rusher. … Helped himself at the East-West Shrine Game, showing good upper-body strength to pop the tight end off the snap. … Good straight-line speed and agility to redirect in coverage. … Tools to warrant development as a rush linebacker. … Voted team captain.

Negatives: Classic “tweener.” … Essentially a one-trick pony. … Lacks the bulk to remain at defensive end and may lack the necessary speed and agility for coverage. … Questionable instincts for move a linebacker. … Relies on his agility to avoid blockers when in space. … Struggles to disengage from blockers once they’ve locked on. … Only one season as a starter.

Scouts, Inc gives him a decent grade.

Overall Football Traits
Production 3 2005-’07: Butler starts one of the 36 games he appears in accumulating 45 tackles, 18 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks, one interception, four pass breakups, three fumble recoveries, and two forced fumbles. 2008: Butler starts all 13 games accumulating 65 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He earns first team All PAC-10 honors in 2008.
Height-Weight-Speed 2 Adequate height and bulk but excellent top-end speed.
Durability 1 Has not missed any playing time with an injury.
Character 2 Voted team captain in 2008.
Outside Linebacker specific Traits
Instincts/Recognition 3 Instincts are adequate-at-best but he shows good discipline and generally stays at home when offense runs misdirection.
Pursuit/Point of Attack 3 Excellent range, takes sound pursuit angles and a sideline-to-sideline run stopper. Very good upper body strength but don’t see it enough on film and more effective in space than is in phone booth situations. Takes too long to shed blocks when gets reached and can get driven back.
Tackling 3 Strong tackler in a confined area but doesn’t show great body control in space and is an inconsistent open field tackler.
Pass Coverage 4 Fast enough to run with backs/tight ends down the middle of the field but takes too long to open hips. Not fluid changing directions so going to have some problems matching up underneath as well. Lacks ideal ball skills and not a playmaker.
Pass Rusher 2 Greatest strength. Quick, gets good inside body lean and shows above-average closing speed. Can set tackles up to the outside before redirecting inside.

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