IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 12: Marvin McNutt, Jr. #7 of the Iowa Hawkeyes is pursued by Marcus Rush #44 of the Michigan State Spartans at Kinnick Stadium November 12, 2011 in Iowa City, Iowa. Michigan State beat Iowa 37-21. (Photo by Reese Strickland/Getty Images)
Cincinnati is among a group of teams that have expressed interest in University of Iowa wide receiver Marvin McNutt. The 6-foot-3, 216-pound receiver is projected as a late third to mid-fourth round selection. His draft stock has been on the rise since posting a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine in February. Scouts expected him to run in the 4.6 range, which forced teams to reevaluate the prospect.
Holmes writes, "The mission is to find a wide receiver to complement rising star A.J. Green", and he is exactly right. The idea prototype for a No. 2 receiver is someone with size, speed, and playmaking ability; a player who puts pressure on the defense by demanding their attention. Pay attention to the No. 2, and the No.1 benefits from easier coverage. Ignore the No. 2 and pay the price at the hands of his production. Any way you look at it, a solid contributor at the No. 2 receiver position opens up options for the passing offense--something a young, developing quarterback like Andy Dalton would greatly benefit from.
There are a few first round receiver talents in the upcoming draft, namely Notre Dame's Michael Floyd. However, while wide reciever is a definite need for the Cincinnati Bengals, the position takes a backseat to the prioritized and desperate situations at cornerback and guard. A highly probable scenario has the Bengals selecting those two positions with their two first round picks, leaving the position of wide receiver to be addressed in a later round. Add to that equation the additional needs at safety and running back, and the recent Marvin Lewis interview in which he said, "We feel a little bit better about [wide receiver] in house than what people know", and it seems likely wide receiver may not take priority until round 3 or 4.
What receiver with speed, size, and playmaking ability will be available in the middle rounds? Marvin McNutt.
Marvin McNutt left high school as a quarterback, but was quickly groomed for the wide receiver position once enrolled at the University of Iowa. Under the instruction of wide receivers coach Erik Campbell, McNutt became Iowa's all-time leading receiver. He finished his career with 2,861 receiving yards and 28 touchdown receptions--both school records.
McNutt's numbers prove his ability to play the wide receiver position, but his greatest attribute is not an award, stat, or even a character trait. It's a one word attribute which scouts and GMs drool over--upside. Basically translated to, "well..umm...he isn't really great yet...(looking around nervously)...but one day he could be phenomenal! Maybe", upside is terrifying in a first round pick because if the strong possibility that he never reaches his potential becomes a reality, then you just lost your first round pick. But in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th rounds, drafted players aren't expected to immediately start and "upside" isn't nearly as frightening. In fact, its just what teams look for--a player to steadily progress and eventually become a significant contributor. If the Bengals are looking for this type of player, then Iowa receivers coach Erik Campbell believes they should look no further then Marvin McNutt.
One thing about Marvin is he's a smart young man," Campbell said. "It's hard to compare him to others I have coached because his development was only three years. He's not quite there with those guys yet, but I do believe he'll get there in a couple years of development. His upside is unbelievable and he hasn't even scratched the surface of his ability. I think his upside by far blows the others away.
What Cincinnati will do with their No. 2 receiver position remains to be seen, but the draft should be telling as to the Bengals desired direction. But imagine to three receiver set of Green, Shipley, and McNutt...do you like what you see?