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Overlooked elsewhere, Malcolm Butler had supporters in New England


The list of Scouting Combine invitees was released just days after the Super Bowl, and NFL hopefuls whose names aren’t on that list can take some solace in the ending of the Super Bowl.

Malcolm Butler, who made the Patriots’ game-sealing interception, is an undrafted rookie out of Division II West Alabama who wasn’t invited to last year’s Combine and didn’t even have any offers to sign as an undrafted free agent immediately following the draft. But there were two people who thought Butler could play in the NFL: Patriots scout Frantzy Jourdain and Patriots cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer.

Butler’s agent, Derek Simpson, told Mike Reiss of that it was looking bleak for Butler even to get an invitation to a rookie minicamp until the Patriots called.

“I’ll never forget it; I was at my dining room table and got a phone call,” Simpson said. “It was Josh Boyer and he said, ‘Is Malcolm still available? I can bring in one player in the country for a tryout and I picked Malcolm. I believe Malcolm can play in the NFL.’ We had to sign a release just to try out, and within one hour after his flight from Jackson, Mississippi, to New England, they had him run a 40 and he did a 4.4. From that point forward, it’s been nothing but incredible.”

NFL teams evaluate hundreds of undrafted players, knowing that only a handful will ever play for their team. But when one of those players turns into the hero of the Super Bowl, that underlines the importance of good scouting. It paid off for the Patriots in a big way.