For much of the 2016 college football season, Michigan tight end Jake Butt was considered to be at or near the top of his position group when discussing the 2017 NFL Draft. The long-time starter really excelled under the tutelage of Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor and, as a result, NFL pundits openly discussed the possibility that Butt could land within the first 32 picks in late April.
However, all of that momentum came to an end with Butt suffered a gruesome knee injury in Michigan’s bowl game loss to Florida State in late December. Now, though, the tight end with the best last name in the draft has a new timeline for return and it is a sharp upgrade from what was previously expected.
Butt is now projected as approximately a third-round pick by most outlets but this news could be game-changing. While he was unable to work out at the NFL Draft Combine because of the injury, there are few (if any) tight ends in the 2017 class that have better tape and production than Butt and this could be the encouraging news that fans of Butt have been looking for in his recovery.
O.J. Howard and Evan Engram will likely land ahead of Jake Butt in the upcoming draft but this is good news and it is refreshing to hear after what was a wildly ill-timed injury.