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Undrafted running back James Butler signs with Raiders

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NCAA Football: Pinstripe Bowl-Boston College vs Iowa Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

In the wake of Jalen Richard’s calf strain during Sunday’s practice, the Raiders signed undrafted James Butler, a former running back out of Iowa, as reported by Gary Dolphin of Hawkeye radio.

Standing at 5-foot-9, 210 pounds, Butler was able to establish himself with the Nevada Wolf Pack through a combination of elusiveness and strength that belied his size. In his sophomore and junior years with Nevada, Butler was extremely productive rushing for more than 2681 yards and 22 total touchdowns on an average of 5.8 yards per carry.

In 2016, Butler established himself as a PFF sleeper with his production. According to PFF, in 2016, Butler was ranked No.1 as the most elusive FBS running back on both runs and receptions with 87 missed tackles on 299 total touches. He was also ranked No.1 among all draft-eligible running backs with a 33.1 percent chain conversion rate and No. 4 with a 40.6 percent yards after contact success rate.

Butler also demonstrated in 2016 that receiving was within skillset as he produced 381 yards on 37 receptions on 2.17 yards per route, good for ninth amongst all running backs in the 2018 draft. Nonetheless, it is important to note that this was his first and only productive year as a receiver.

However, with a major change in Nevada’s offensive scheme to an Air Raid offense, Butler decided to transfer to Iowa in his senior year where he played behind Akrum Wadley. His relegation to secondary option resulted in diminished production and efficiency as he only rushed for 396 yards with an average of 4.4 yards per carry. This is definitely a cause for concern, as you would hope that his decrease in carries would be followed by an increase in efficiency.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how he can perform in the absence of Jalen Richard and who will win the training camp battle between Warren and Butler in training camp.


Whose UDFA RB’s college tape are you more impressed with?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    Chris Warren
    (174 votes)
  • 57%
    James Butler
    (234 votes)
408 votes total Vote Now