With the 2019 NFL Draft less than a week away, the dreams of many prospects are drawing closer. Being able to play in the NFL is an awesome feat in itself, but playing for the home team would make things even sweeter.
That's exactly what former Iowa State wide receiver Hakeem Butler has the possibility of doing. Butler is one of college football's most productive wide receivers having posted 60 receptions for 1,318 yards and nine touchdowns.
The dynamic playmaker visited with the Baltimore Ravens before the draft. At 6-foot-5, 227 pounds, Butler ran a 4.48 second time in the 40-yard dash. His size, speed, and big-play ability are exactly what Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson needs for Baltimore's offense. The Ravens have an unproven group of wideouts that would br boosted by the potential that Butler brings. His basketball background and big frame make him a major red zone threat.
While at Iowa State, there were many times where the quarterback threw the ball in Butler's direction even when he was covered knowing he'd come down with the ball. Butler plays receiver like a bully when it comes to making contested catches and throwing defensive backs off of him. The rugged style is a part of 'the dog' that was instilled in him from his early days in Baltimore.
"Baltimore, everyone knows it's a rough place but it taught me a lot. You gotta be a dawg. You can't take no days off. You gotta go out there and eat. It's a dog eat dog world. Every day I take that with me," Butler said at the Combine.
Butler's roots are in Baltimore, he grew up in East Baltimore. But he moved to Houston and went to Travis High School in Fort Bend, Texas after his mother lost her fight with breast cancer.
Baltimore has not fared well when selecting wide receivers in the first round over the years. Names such as Travis Taylor and Breshard Perriman come to mind. They hold the No. 22 overall pick and won't draft again until the third round (pick No. 85). If they don't take Butler with their first-round pick, GM Eric DeCosta will have to orchestrate a trade to get back into position to select him late in the first or early in the second round. Moving down from pick 22 and acquiring more picks while taking Butler is always an option as well.
As he stood at the podium during the Combine media session, Butler imagined what his mother would say if she were here to see him make it to the NFL.
Added Butler, "She'd be immensely proud of me. She'd be crying tears of joy. She'd be wearing my jersey and hoping I get drafted by the Ravens. I know she's looking over me always."