Wide receiver is considered to be one of the strongest positions in the 2012 Draft. Where Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon and South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery are expected to be the top two receivers selected, there may be a much better value a little later on.
One of the players who is steadily moving up in the "second tier" of wideouts is Iowa's Marvin McNutt. With Notre Dame's Michael Floyd inexplicably pulling himself from Senior Bowl competition, McNutt has taken the opportunity to impress and ran with it.
Entering Iowa as a quarterback, McNutt was switched to wideout and all he did was become the Hawkeyes all-time leading receiver. McNutt used his experience as a quarterback to run sharper routes and give his quarterbacks a better target to throw to.
"I think the route running and the way we scheme things in the passing game, knowing that when certain things happen you have to break off routes against coverages it helps a lot," McNutt said when asked how his experience as a former quarterback helps him at wide receiver."
The 22-year old St. Louis native had many big plays over his Iowa career as he caught 28 touchdown passes, but the most memorable may have come in Iowa's 31-14 loss in the Insight Bowl. The nationally televised game featured a "SkyCam" that was placed over the field propelled on wires. In the third quarter, the wires gave out and crashed onto Marvin McNutt.
"First, I looked: `What is it that fell from the sky?"' McNutt said after following the game. "The next thing I know, the camera kind of scratched me a little bit. It was just pulling me and I knew I didn't want to keep going with it."
McNutt has overcome his near decapitation and has put on a show during Senior Bowl practices. He has shown the ability to get off the press, has run precise routes and has caught the ball consistently with his 10 inch hands.
"Since I was a kid I've always had a knack for going up when a ball is up in the air and getting it, McNutt explained. "I think I catch the ball pretty well, I'm able to make tough catches and I use my body to box out defenders."
So what could keep McNutt from being selected in the first round?
"I need to work on getting my feet better," the former Iowa Hawkeye said.
There are some top-end speed concerns among scouts but his ability to use him body will make up for some of that.
"I plan on running a 4.4," McNutt said when asked about his speed goal. "My fastest time last year was a 4.50."
Although he entered Mobile as a potential fourth or fifth round pick, McNutt has turned heads and has played himself into a much higher selection.
McNutt Rises Above
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