Michigan tight end Jake Butt was considered one of the top overall tight end prospects alongside Alabama’s O.J. Howard prior to suffering a torn ACL in the Wolverines’ Orange Bowl loss to Florida State, but told NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock Friday that he is ahead of schedule and could be ready to hit the field by mid-July.
“I’m not rushing anything, but I am ahead of schedule,” Butt said at Michigan’s pro day Friday, via NFL Network. ”I’m doing everything the trainers are asking me to do. I’m right on track. Timetable-wise, it could be as early as mid-July. That would be six months, but it could be as late as October 10th, which would put me at nine months, could be anywhere between then.”
The 6-foot-5, 246-pound tight end was the recipient of the 2016 John Mackey Award, given to college football’s top tight end, and is eager to prove himself at the next level following four strong seasons in Ann Arbor.
Butt amassed 138 receptions for 1,646 yards and scored 11 touchdowns during his four years with the Wolverines, and is now projected to be a mid-round selection after the injury. Mayock originally had Butt as his fourth-ranked tight end in his first position rankings, but dropped the Michigan tight end out of his top-five list this past week.
The 2017 NFL Draft is expected to be stacked with talented tight ends that have the potential to start Week 1 of the 2017 season, and Butt could easily be one of those players, depending on his recovery.
While Howard and Miami’s David Njoku are expected to be the top two tight ends off the board next month, Butt has high upside potential that could be viewed as a steal in the third or fourth-round. The Michigan tight end will need to work on his run blocking skills at the next level, but is looking to prove to NFL franchises that he can be a reliable three-down tight end.