NFL Draft: Marvin McNutt and the red zone slant route

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Earlier today, I broke down three route concepts on the chalkboard that every WR prospect will need to convert at the NFL level: the 7 (corner), Dig (square-in) and the Slant. Now, let’s go to the video and take a look at the slant route vs. press-coverage.

Iowa vs. Michigan State. QB Ricky Stanzi to WR Marvin McNutt. A great example of winning at the line of scrimmage and using size at the WR position to create leverage on an inside breaking concept. Crucial when we break down the route scheme inside of the 5-yard line vs. Cover 0 (blitz-man).

Quick coaching points…

- Iowa has Posse personnel (3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB) on the field and uses TE motion to create a 3x1 alignment. Why is that key? A 3x1 alignment in college and the NFL should always alert the secondary to play for the backside slant.

- The route concept: 2212 (2=slant, 1=flat). With McNutt on the slant to the open (weak) side of the formation, Iowa can run the double slants and the flat route to the closed (strong) side. A smart call inside of the 5-yard line when you expect to see pressure as it creates an automatic “hot” read for the QB.

- Cover 0 (blitz-man with no safety help) in the secondary. The DBs should align with an inside shade and force the WRs to go through their leverage on any inside breaking concept. With no safety help in the middle of the field, holding your leverage is crucial when playing Cover 0.

- Check out McNutt. As I wrote in my breakdown when grading the WR position, it is important to focus on the release. You want to see lateral quickness and the ability to get off the line. Here, a quick move to the outside to force the CB to “open the gate” (open up the hips) and that creates leverage (plus separation) to run the slant. Add that to McNutt’s size (6-3, 216), and the Iowa WR is now in an ideal position to win on the route.

- How would I coach up the CB? Start with the footwork. Slide your feet and “mirror” the release. That will allow you to punch with that outside hand and drive the WR lateral to the line of scrimmage. When you “open the gate,” the initial punch isn’t going to impact the release or the stem of the route. Don’t give up your leverage, use technique and play the route.

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