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Matthew Butler showed his NFL ability at Shrine game

The executive director of game thinks Raiders got a gem

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Tennessee
Matthew Butler
Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

After a strong final season at Tennessee, defensive tackle Matthew Butler solidified his prospects as an NFL player at the East-West Shrine Game practice week in Las Vegas and at the game at Allegiant Stadium in early February.

The hometown Raiders, whose strength staff coached in the game, closely scouted the game and had their eye on Butler all week and talked to him several times while he was in Las Vegas.

After an impressive showing in Las Vegas, Butler will now make his home in the desert. The Raiders picked Butler in the fifth round of the draft.

Shrine Game executive director Eric Galko said he believes the Raiders made a wise decision drafting Butler.

“He was one of the most dominant defensive linemen all week at the Shrine game and we had several who ended up being drafted,“ Galko told Silver and Black Pride. “He went from being a late-draft prospect to being a solid top-five round pick ... I know the Raiders talked to him a lot and really liked what they saw.”

Galko said he got to know Butler, a leader at Tennessee, well during the Shrine game process and that he is “extremely NFL minded.”

Galko said he thinks Butler will be able to thrive in Patrick Graham’s system because he can play several positions including defensive end and help inside as both a run stuffer and as a pass-rusher. Galko said Butler will never “embarrass himself” on the field and he raved about his football IQ.

“Matthew’s future is bright,” Galko said.

Butler was one of my favorite Las Vegas picks and this evaluation doesn’t change that.