Is Jeremy Butler this year's Marlon Brown for Ravens?

Is Jeremy Butler this year's Marlon Brown for Ravens?
June 21, 2014, 10:30 pm
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Last year, Marlon Brown went from undrafted rookie to key wide receiver for the Ravens. Is Jeremy Butler next in line to make that leap?

While many receivers -- including Brown -- had troubles with dropped passes during the Ravens OTA workouts over the past month, Butler consistently made plays. He made athletic catches over the middle, in traffic, and down the sideline. While third-string quarterback Keith Wenning and other rookies worked on a far field in 11-on-11 drills, Butler remained with the No. 1 and No. 2 offense.

So who is Butler, and where did he come from?

First, he's got NFL size, at 6-foot-2 and 224 pounds. A native of Bradenton, Fla., Butler played two years of junior college ball in California, then moved on to Tennessee-Martin, where he set single-season records with 90 catches for 1,203 yards in 2013.  He had 10 touchdown catches this past season, and in two years at Tennessee-Martin he totaled 141 catches for 1,953 yards and 20 touchdowns.

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He visited the Packers but ultimately signed with the Ravens, who gave him a $4,000 signing bonus.

He is not a downfield burner -- he ran a 4.61 40 at Tennessee-Martin's pro day -- but he has size and strong hands and can catch the ball in traffic.

When camp begins in July, Butler figures to be a in a spirited battle for a final receiver roster spot with, among others, Deonte Thompson, rookie Michael Campanaro, LaQuan Williams, and Mike Willie, who was signed by the team on Friday.

To be sure, the odds remain against Butler making the team; only one or two undrafted rookies out of 20 or more in camp make the team in any given year. But there's no doubt Butler has opened some eyes through the OTAs and the three-day mandatory minicamp that ended this past week.

Expect to hear Butler's name a lot in training camp and in the early preseason games.