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Commanders Rookie Percy Butler: Next Secondary Steal?

The Commanders spent a premium pick on an unsung defender from Louisiana

Back in 2020, Washington drafted Arkansas defensive back Kamren Curl and turn him into one of the team’s brightest stars on their budding defense. Now, as they enter the 2022 campaign, the Commanders may have found another diamond in the rough.

The Commanders spent a fourth-round selection on Louisiana defensive back Percy Butler, which had many draft analysts and fans a bit confused on the pick. But the team was confident in the selection and what Butler could bring to the team. He is a physical player at the point of attack and can provide some youth and speed to this Washington defensive unit.

“He brings a lot to the table,” general manager Martin Mayhew said. “We saw enough flashes of him playing last year that we feel he’s a guy who can develop into a really good player for us.”

The 6-foot Butler had a successful junior season which saw him elevate his game to Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference. His 61 tackles ranked third on the Ragin’ Cajuns defense and sparked a NFL Combine appearance in Indianapolis.

“Percy’s speed really shows,” head coach Ron Rivera said. “You watch him move around, and you go, ‘Wow. That dude can flat-out run.’”

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Washington’s coaches view Butler as a nickel cornerback that can also rotate into some dime packages and even get reps at safety, his preferred position.

One of those safeties on this defense opposite Curl is eight year veteran Bobby McCain, who is entering his second season in the burgundy and gold.

McCain had some time to watch Butler during the team’s voluntary OTAs last week and provided some praise on the rookie.

“He doesn’t make the same mistakes twice,” McCain said. “And I told him, ‘You need to keep doing that,’ because in this league, if you don’t make the same mistakes twice, you’ll be successful.”

Butler was heralded as an underrated prospect by many, including NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah and ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., but if he performs to the levels that the Commanders staff hopes, he won’t be underrated for much longer.