The New England Patriots’ Super Bowl XLIX hero truly came out of nowhere.
Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler was such an obscure prospect that his pro day workout numbers were inaccurate, and no one seemed to notice or care until he was brought to New England for a post-draft tryout.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick discussed scouting Butler with Duke men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski on this week’s edition of ?Basketball and Beyond with Coach K? on SiriusXM College Sports Nation. The full interview airs Thursday at 6 p.m. on SiriusXM channel 91.
Krzyzewski asked Belichick, ?How do you find Malcolm Butler? How is he in that play in the Super Bowl from where he was, where he came from??
?You know, Mike, that?s a great question,” Belichick said. “When we scouted him at West Alabama the information on him wasn?t accurate and somehow or other his times and kind of athleticism got lost in the shuffle as sort of a slower corner that was just an OK athlete.
“After the draft we signed a lot of free agents, and we had really no spots on our roster, and we invited about 20 players who weren?t drafted in for a weekend workout. He was one of those players and in order to sign him to our roster, we had to release somebody that we had already scouted and put on our team. But we just thought that Malcolm would be able to be competitive based on his athleticism and ball skills and how quickly he picked things up in the couple days that he was with us.
“So we didn?t even have a roster spot, we created one. He came in and he played well in the spring, carried that over into training camp, ended up making the roster and was on and off the roster at different times during the year. There were a couple games he wasn’t active for. He kept competing, he kept getting better, and from West Alabama to Arizona and the Super Bowl is a long way. But he did it with a lot of hard work and he had an opportunity and he took advantage of it so it is really kind of a dream story for him and, you know, for all kids that play sports.?
Butler’s reported 40-yard dash time was 4.62 seconds, though it was obvious from watching him this season that he’s much faster. The Patriots clocked Butler with a 4.4-second 40-yard dash when they privately ran him through the pre-draft drills, the cornerback’s agent told ESPN.com.
Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Images