An underrated pickup by the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason was former Arizona State linebacker, Darien Butler. Now reunited with his position coach, Antonio Pierce, as he makes his NFL transition, the forced fumble leader from 2019 is flourishing with the Silver and Black.
Butler made quite an impact in his time at college, more specifically in the Pac-12. He led the conference in several categories at different times, whether it was forced fumbles, total tackles, or interceptions.
As an undrafted rookie, he was going to have a hard time making the roster. Regardless, Butler has been impressive thus far in Raiders camp. In fact, he’s had the opportunity to work with many of the starters due to injuries suffered by the other linebackers. He’s certainly making the most of it, with Pierce singing his praises while speaking with the media recently.
â€œEven since he was a 17- to 18-year-old when we first worked together, he’s just a guy that’s matured and that’s come into his own as a linebacker and as a person. I think since you’ve seen him as a Raider, he’s learned how to be a pro. You really see him with the veterans a lot, obviously, with Jayon and D.P. Those guys are mentoring him and that’s been good to see. And then, obviously, once you see him on the football field, he’s a physical player, very intense, passionate about the game. (There’s been) big growth for him since he’s been here.”
Raiders Camp: Darien Butler’s Growth Will Pay Off For Vegas
The linebacker position was an abyss for the better part of nearly two decades. The Raiders either neglected the position or struck out when making an investment in it. Just look at Rolando McClain. However, that’s been turned around recently. Denzel Perryman’s addition turned out to be a game changer for the Raiders. Grooming and preparing Butler is another move that could pay off in the long run.
Butler showed in college an ability to read the run and then execute with his agility, speed, and tackling ability. He has the physical traits to excel in both pass and run situations. Playing behind Perryman and Jayon Brown will allow him to patiently develop as well. The linebacker group is definitely trending upward, with Butler waiting in the ranks.
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