It took much longer than expected, but Iowa wide receiver Marvin McNutt will continue his football career at the professional level.
McNutt was picked in the sixth round by the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday afternoon. McNutt will battle for playing time behind Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
“Marvin McNutt was a highly productive player that continued to get better and better with each season,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. “When you watch him, he doesn’t have great suddenness, but I think he’s athletic, and I think he does a very nice job of adjusting to the football. That’s where he’s at his best doing.
McShay then touted McNutt’s ability to make tough catches and using his body control to adjust to a ball in the air “but then he’ll have a concentration drop. So that’s one area where he needs to improve.
“He’s never going to be overly explosive but Marvin McNutt knows how to get open and he catches the ball in traffic. He’s a good late-round pick.”
McNutt (6-2 1/2, 216) was named the Big Ten’s top wide receiver after the 2011 season. He holds Iowa’s records in for receiving yards in a season (1,315) and career (2,861) and single-season (12) and career touchdown receptions (28). He also tied the school’s single-season reception mark with 82 catches in 2011 and ranks second in career receptions (170). All of the single-season records were set in 2011.
Last year he led Big Ten in receiving yards per game (101.2), ranked second in receptions per game (6.3) and sixth in all-purpose yards (106.7). Among Big Ten annuals, McNutt’s 1,315 receiving yards in 2011 ranks seventh and his 28 career touchdown catches rank 10th. He posted three of the 10 longest scoring receptions in Iowa history (92, 88, 80 yards) and caught at least one pass in his final 32 games at Iowa.
“I think one of my biggest things that I bring is that I’m big-bodied and I know how to use my body well, as well as catch the ball with my hands,” McNutt said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I’m an intelligent player, and I’m a former quarterback makes it a lot easier to know where to be in the defenses because I’ve studied the game.”
He is the first drafted Iowa wide receiver since Atlanta picked Kahlil Hill in the sixth round of the 2002 NFL draft.
Some analysts questioned McNutt’s speed until he ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. McNutt was undeterred when asked about his speed.
“I know I have enough (speed) at the college level,” he said in February. “Like I say, when you start play with fast people, you play faster. Breakaway speed isn’t the No. 1 key about playing football; it’s about technique and getting open. I believe I have that.”
McNutt switched from quarterback to wide receiver midway through the 2008 season. He became a force in 2009, catching eight touchdown passes for the 11-2 Hawkeyes. He’s best remembered for a 7-yard touchdown pass from Ricky Stanzi with no time remaining to beat Michigan State 15-13 at East Lansing, Mich. He also hauled in a 92-yard strike from Stanzi that sparked a 28-point fourth quarter in a 42-24 win against Indiana.
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