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NFL Draft 2016: Vernon Butler could sneak into first round with Chiefs

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Mayock had nothing but praise for this high-upside defensive lineman.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs are often linked to defensive linemen at the bottom in the first round, and Mike Mayock had plenty of candidates for the team in his conference call before the NFL Combine. One player who earned considerable praise from Mayock is a name we've not heard as much about: Louisiana Tech DL Vernon Butler.

Specifically, Mayock said, "[Vernon] Butler from Louisiana Tech could do a lot of jobs and fits what Kansas City does. He could play nose, he could play 5 technique. He's a really intriguing player at 6'5", 325."

Butler started the season by being placed on both the 2015 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List and the 2015 Outland Trophy Award Watch List. From there, he was named First Team All-Conference USA with another season marked by 50 tackles, including 10 tackles for loss to go with 3 sacks. He also tied for the team lead with 8 hurries. Those are impressive numbers for an interior linemen who compiled even better numbers his junior year, when he had 56 tackles, including 13.5 tackles for loss.

NFL.com's draft profile likens him to Muhammad Wilkerson, which seems a bit outrageous given that Wilkerson is one of the NFL's best at the position. That said, every scout praises Butler for his incredible athleticism, long frame and non-stop motor. With solid coaching and experience, Butler's upside seems higher than others who might be drafted before him. Then again, if his stock continues to soar, as he did at the Senior Bowl, he might not be available for the Chiefs at No. 28.

To read more on Vernon Butler:

CBS Sports Draft Profile

NFL Draft Geek

Blogging the Boys breakdown of Butler