Ethan kicked things off, "I'm not expecting him (Butler) to be an Eddie Royal or anything, but I'm hopeful that we'll see hints of his upside this next season and then see even further development in the future."
I would have to agree with this assessment. The sheer learning curve associated with young wide receivers makes an instant impact unlikely. It's not impossible, as both Royal and DeSean Jackson proved in 2008. However I think it would be unfair on the former Nittany Lion to expect anything like that in his first year in Seattle. I do expect Butler to have some kind of influence, even if it's just as a decoy on deep routes or a potential kick returner.
JRuss chipped in, "I was almost as excited to hear about Butler's great hands and crisp routes as I was about his speed and quickness. I've read that he plays bigger than he is and that certainly would be a great thing if it proved true."
The suggestion that Butler plays above his size and physical presence is one I would agree with. He's not the biggest (a generous 5'10" in height and slight frame) but he doesn't shirk from blocks and plays with a toughness you want to see from a young guy.
Seth H wondered if Butler could be used in some niche moves, "Greg Knapp isn't afraid of trick plays. Imagine something like an I formation with Seneca Wallace and Deon Butler as the receivers, Seneca Wallace gets the hand off on an end around, but it's really a pass play and Deon Butler hauls it in for a long TD pass."
No doubt the NFL became a home for trick plays in 2008, with the whole Dolphins wild cat craze. That shows no obvious signs of disappearing so maybe we will see some original ideas from Knapp in his play calling?
Steve S offered a different angle and is keeping his expectations in check, "I think we should be honest with ourselves and admit that, assuming normal luck with injuries, Butler's contribution will be approximately zero in 2009. I'd be perfectly content to see Butler inactive in '09 and making a contribution in '10. In fact, if we were to look into the future and see Butler playing many meaningful snaps in '09 it would more likely mean that the $100+ million vets are injured than that Butler is tearing it up."
This is a fair analysis. Realistically you would expect Houshamdzadeh, Branch and Burleson to get most attention in the passing game with John Carlson having a big say at tight end. Unless we see an injury crisis reminiscent of 2008, Butler might have to wait his turn. I do think his pure speed could see him find a way to get involved as a rookie though and he may still have some special teams value.
I'll leave the final comment to Melham, a Penn State grad, "As an alum who has watched every PSU game since 1996, let me say that Seattle is going to LOVE Deon Butler. Everyone knows about Derrick Williams but IMO Butler was the best receiver on the team and the best since Bobby Engram. He will exceed all expectations, guaranteed."
I like the sound of that.