The NFL Draft is about as unpredictable as central Iowa weather.
Everyone and their dog uploads a mock draft on the internet that will crumble after a round or two. ESPN and other networks grab half a dozen talking heads in suits, and they go as in-depth as they’re able to on hundreds of prospects every draft cycle.
But the reality is there’s no way to know everything about the hundreds of prospects and the 32 teams with their 4-12 picks with unforeseen trades sprinkled throughout the three-day process.
As a result, let’s throw out any predictions and have some fun. Iowa State fans should see at least two names called over the weekend in wide receiver Hakeem Butler and running back David Montgomery, and Butler could even sneak into the first round.
Regardless of where Butler goes in the draft, let’s think about the most fun destinations that are still realistic for the 6-foot-5 matchup nightmare.
This is a great landing spot for Butler based on the lack of talent at wide receiver for the Ravens. Baltimore has a trio of receivers on the final year of their contracts, and the Ravens have two players tied to them after 2019 in Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley (I have no idea who they are either).
Also, I think Baltimore’s style of play provides a fun opportunity for Butler and viewers. Lamar Jackson will be in his second season in the NFL, and he brings high-level running ability to the table.
As a passer, Jackson had ups and downs, but his struggles were highlighted in Baltimore’s playoff game with the Chargers when the rookie threw for 194 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and he was as secure with the football as Kevin Malone is with chili.
What could help Jackson would be a giant receiver that can have the ball chucked up to him to go grab, which is what Cyclone fans saw from Butler throughout his career. Baltimore also uses a heavy run approach, and Butler and his size can hold his own blocking defensive backs.
Baltimore would likely have to trade up to secure Butler, but the Ravens have the ammunition to jump up.
Butler also was born in Baltimore, so that’s an added benefit for him.
Green Bay Packers
My sincerest apologies go out to Minnesota and Chicago fans, but Green Bay would be a great landing spot for Butler. And if you think he’s a first-round talent, he could sneak into day one at pick No. 30, which would add a fifth-year option to his contract.
Aside from the round and contract, Butler would see the field early and often in his career. Outside of Geronimo Allison and Davante Adams every Packer wide receiver accounts for less than $1 million against the cap, so there’s some expendable pieces.
A green and gold Butler would also reunite him with former Cyclone Allen Lazard (if he makes the team again), which is a fun bonus for Iowa State fans.
Oh yeah, also a really good quarterback orchestrates the Green Bay offense in Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers and the Packers should make some noise in the NFC North, so Butler could taste the playoffs in his rookie season if he lands in Green Bay.
New York Jets
J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!
Assuming it’s spelled correctly, New York fans could chant this as Butler’s name is announced. Like the Ravens, New York would likely have to maneuver around through trades, but it’s manageable to get in position to grab Butler.
This landing spot is more long term because it’ll probably be a year or two before the Jets are too competitive. Despite being bad since Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez were running the show, the Jets have some promise.
New York added a feature back in Le’veon Bell who should be well rested after sitting out a year, and the Jets have a young, talented quarterback in Sam Darnold. How do you help a young, talented quarterback? Draft a giant, athletic receiver.
At wide receiver the Jets have a group of players who’ve had flashes but never too much success. Butler’s addition also adds the bonus of two Cyclones on the same team with Kelechi Osemele anchoring offensive guard in the Big Apple.
Honorable Mention: Cleveland Browns
I don’t think this one happens because the Browns sport Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, so they’ll probably focus day one and two on the offensive line and defense.
With that said, how fun would Beckham Jr., Landry and Butler be on the same team? One thing’s for certain, it’d be a dream for Matt Campbell and his mostly Ohioan staff.