Marvin McNutt was the receiver of choice in the recent 2012 NFL Draft Sleepers list. It wouldn't be that surprising if McNutt turns into a quality pro considering he had a very productive career for Hawkeyes with a lot of production in the Big Ten.
Despite being one of the nation's top performers in every receiving statistic, there hasn't a lot of attention surrounding McNutt. The sleeper prospect can see that he may be underrated by the media, but believes that NFL teams are not underestimating his talents.
"I definitely think being underrated is a possibility. People don't seem to talk about me as much, but I think flying under the radar may be too much because I was invited to the Senior Bowl and the Combine, so that is a big stage for everything. Really I'm just excited to be able to play in the National Football League and that is just a great opportunity in itself. Wherever I go in the draft, it is going to be an awesome feeling."
The 6-foot-3, 216-pound McNutt had a quality NFL Scouting Combine with a 40-yard dash time at 4.54 seconds. McNutt may still set up some formal pre-draft visits, but he indicated which teams have been showing a lot of interest in him with the 2012 NFL Draft just a few weeks away.
"It is hard a question because there are so many teams showing interest in you, but it could be a team that you don't know is interested that takes you on draft day. A lot of teams were showing interest at the Combine and Senior Bowl. The Jaguars, the Jets, the Chiefs, the Panthers, a few other teams, but you never know if it actually be one of them that takes you."
McNutt had a massive 2011 campaign for Iowa despite playing with a new quarterback. As a senior, he had 82 catches for 1,315 yards and 12 touchdowns. McNutt produced big plays in all levels of the defense and beat secondaries with a combination of size and quickness. He has very reliable hands with the size to work the middle of the field. The only teams that truly limited him were Nebraska and Oklahoma.
Throughout his college career, McNutt was a dangerous red-zone weapon and point producer. McNutt's 28 career touchdown catches set the school all-time record as he passed Tim Dwight and Danan Hughes (22 touchdowns). McNutt impressed scouts as a polished receiver at the Senior Bowl, and he gave the credit to the coaching he received at Iowa.
"I've done every receiver position throughout my career. They had me do everything. Coach (Erik) Campbell was comfortable putting me in any position and knew that I knew the play. A lot of the polished style of play I attribute to Coach Campbell, Coach (Kirk) Ferentz and the Iowa staff. Their attention to detail is superb and we needed to do the same. They keep us focused on the details and continued to grow with it and what we were doing."
McNutt ran the entire route tree at Iowa with experience as a split end, flanker and slot receiver. He played in a pro style offense with a coaching staff that has earned a reputation for preparing players well for the next level.
"We had a little bit of everything incorporated into our offense. Mostly it was a traditional pro style. We had a 60-40 run-pass ratio or a 50-50, but really we did a lot based on what we saw in our film study. The coaches did a great job of preparing us from that."
In talking about going against other draft prospects, McNutt was quick to praise a teammate as a player who also contributed to getting him ready for the NFL.
"One guy that is flying under the radar is a guy that helped me get better everyday and that is cornerback Shaun Prater. He had me ready for the games with the way he pushed me everyday. He is hard working. He knew everything about me, so it is tough to go against somebody who knows that much about what you do."
In meeting with NFL teams, McNutt was given some critique of his game. McNutt has already started practicing based on the feedback he received as he waits to land with his new team.
"Strengthwise, I'm a big-bodied receiver that catches the ball well with his hands. I'm a solid catcher. One of their biggest concerns are if I have the speed to go vertical, or the speed to get separation out of my cuts. Those are things I'm working on right now is my cut separation and make sure I'm in the right shape."
McNutt said that he is ready for anything on draft day, but he has heard a general range in which he can expect to hear his name called.
"I've heard everything from second to fourth round, so I'm going to see when the receivers start to go and what round they start going after receivers. As far as the exact round you just never know."
McNutt is looking forward to getting to work for his NFL team and is ready to move on from the draft process so he can get back to practicing for the games next fall.
"Definitely it has been a lot of hard work. That is what I wanted to and get myself in the best possible position for the draft. Now it comes down to waiting and staying in shape right now. I just want to become the best player I can be. Whether it is doing the things I did in college at the next level, I want to put my name in the record books."