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New Acquisition Analysis: Adam Butler

The Dolphins announced today the signing of defensive lineman Adam Butler. Undrafted out of Vanderbilt in 2017, Butler has spent all four of his seasons as a pro in New England.

The Film

Butler's build is something of an enigma. He's 6-5 and 300 pounds with 33-inch arms, which pairs well with his lower-body explosiveness. He recorded a broad jump of 101 inches and nearly 30 inches on the vertical leap.

His get-off is quick. He can shoot gaps and penetrate up-field or park the bus and play more of a read-and-react two-gap style of defensive lineman. He uses his weight to lean on opposing centers and guards, forcing them into a retreat position. From there, his lateral quickness and active hands help him create momentum to gain leverage and beat his man.

That lateral agility behooves Butler when executing games (slants, twists and stunts), something this Dolphins defense frequently calls upon.

The Fit

Butler did most of his third-down work in New England lined up over the nose, but he's capable of playing multiple positions. With the Patriots, he would kick out to the three technique (outside shoulder of the guard) and execute a variety of calls (twists, one-gap penetration, two-gap read and react).

He comes to Miami to fortify a defensive line that had plenty of success in 2020. The Dolphins are strengthening what was already a strength on the roster both through Butler's production and selflessness to create chances for his teammates.

The Stats (Courtesy of Pro Football Focus)

Butler has 15.0 sacks and 96 total tackles in his four-year career. He has nine passes defensed, a forced fumble and has played in 47 of a possible 48 games. Butler's been a picture of consistency in the advanced metrics since entering the league in 2017:

Table inside Article
Year Snaps QB Pressures Run Stops
2020 481 27 14
2019 492 26 20
2018 480 26 9
2017 524 28 11

The Roster Impact

The addition of Butler helps an interior defensive line unit that was already solid. Christian Wilkins, Zach Sieler and Raekwon Davis were each significant contributors in 2020, playing a variety of roles and producing against both the run and the pass.

Butler should help with the unit's pass-rush ability from the nose position. In addition to piling up hurries, hits and sacks, Butler did a nice job creating opportunities for his teammates by occupying multiple blockers and setting picks in the rush scheme.

The Conclusion

The Dolphins interior defensive line production was stout in 2020 with Wilkins, Davis and Sieler taking up the vast majority of the snaps. Butler doesn't just give Miami depth at the position, he adds a pass rush element that can help the team both generate interior pressure without blitzing, but also completely soup-up all the inside games Head Coach Brian Flores and Josh Boyer love to dial up.