The Dallas Cowboys fourth year receiver, Brice Butler, is considered by many as a breakout candidate to watch in 2016. Could he be the next Miles Austin?
Dallas Cowboys fans love potential – it’s no secret. Whether it’s drafting injured or uber-raw rookies or signing troubled but talented free agents, the deal is often too good to pass up in our ever-gambling and detrimentally optimistic hearts and minds.
For those reasons it should really be no wonder we love to dream about fourth year receiver, Brice Butler.
Brice Butler, a former seventh round draft pick, is the perfect example of an enormously talented but overwhelmingly unproven player we like to fawn over. With only 42 receptions, 641 yards, and two touchdowns in three NFL season, potential is the only logical reason fans/media/coaches are so enamored with Brice Butler this offseason.
Since the Dallas Cowboys first traded for Butler last season, expectations have been through the roof. At 6’3” 215 lbs. and running with sub 4.4 second speed, Butler is exactly the kind of receiver Jason Garrett needs on the outside in his Air Coryell-like offense.
Regardless of his limited production, his athleticism is through the roof, making it only a matter of time before the Dallas Cowboys find “the next Miles Austin”.
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Miles Austin is the perfect example of a once lowly-regarded breakout player for the Cowboys. Once upon a time, Austin, the 6’2” 215lbs burner from Monmouth, was an undrafted free agent turned Pro Bowler for the Dallas Cowboys. His physical dimensions and athletic skills were among the best in the NFL. The only thing he lacked was execution.
Brice Butler is striking similar in that regard. He’s a big man with quick moves and deep speed. He has leaping ability and soft hands. His pSPAQ score places him in the NFL’s 89th percentile among fellow WRs.
Note: SPAQ is a formula which takes multiple measurable scores in athleticism and roles them all into one composite score. The “p” relates the player to his positional peers.
Brice Butler has the ability to be among the best. But we all know, ability alone will not get the job done.
For Miles Austin it wan’t until his fourth season in the NFL that he breakout and became a Pro Bowler. Because in year three, Austin only managed 13 catches for 278 yards and three TDs. Not too far off of Brice Butler’s third season. In year four Austin exploded with 81 receptions for 1,320 yards and 13 TDs.
With such a similar skill set, it’s not impossible for Brice Butler to make a similar leap.
But for every Miles Austin success story there’s dozens that just flame out.
Brice Butler has flashed potential, but much like Miles Austin before him, he has had trouble staying on the field. Injuries are what eventually derailed Miles Austin and injuries are keeping Butler from even getting on the rails.
“For me, I’ve got to stay healthy,” Butler said. “I can’t really say anything unless I’m out there playing. I’ve got to be available.”
The Dallas Cowboys (specifically Will McClay) have a history of finding treasure in other teams’ trash. They are banking on it for defense end Benson Mayowa and they are hoping for it with Brice Butler.
For now, Terrance Williams is the unquestioned starter alongside Dez Bryant. Much like Miles Austin before him, it will take an injury for Brice Butler to really get a chance in a starting role. But we all know injuries happen every day. We also know that Brice Butler has the ability. What we don’t know is if he can make the most of an opportunity AND find a way to stay on the field.
Will Brice Butler be the next Miles Austin? Three seasons in – he already is. Let’s hope the trajectory continues.