Dexter McCluster might be the most dynamic player in this year’s NFL Draft—outside of Clemson’s CJ Spiller—and the league has taken notice.
He is quickly climbing draft boards and no matter whom you talk to in the league, everyone seems to be high on the former Ole Miss star. Earlier this week, NFP scout Wes Bunting rolled out his top “X-factor” prospects and McCluster was at the top of the list.
McCluster isn’t first round talent, but from the sources I talked to in the league, it is going to be hard for this guy to slip out of the second round—because he is that dynamic. A player that can flip the field of special teams and a player who can be used in multiple ways in different offensive personnel packages.
We talk about “creativity” on offense all of the time. This is where McCluster will find his role as a rookie outside of the kicking game. Think of him aligned inside of the numbers against a nickel corner. Or, in the backfield, in the various bunch and stack sets that have become the rage of the NFL and in pre-snap movement to set him up in a matchups he can exploit.
McCluster can draw those one-on-one assignments, because he is the type of player that can use his lateral speed and change direction to work away from a defender's leverage and catch the ball in space—which leads to explosive plays.
This will be a challenge for defensive coordinators who have to prepare for his abilities when he is on the field.
As Bunting points out, McCluster (who is listed at 5-9, 172 pounds) doesn’t have a true position. He is a kick returner by nature, but when you look at clubs like Green Bay or Buffalo with new head coach Chan Gailey, they will spread the field. McCluster can align inside as the No.2 or No.3 WR where he can work within the multiple route combinations to make plays. Plus, he can carry the ball out of the backfield, press the edge of the defense and use his burst to get up field and create positive plays.
McCluster isn’t the type of player who can consistently carry the ball out of the backfield or align outside the numbers as a No.1 WR against the top tier CBs in the NFL. However, if you can get him involved in your offense for close to ten touches a game--plus the impact he is going to provide on special teams—you will see a return on your investment.
The type of prospect that brings excitement to offensive coordinators in this league that love to set up game plans to use his talents. Becasue of that, McCluster will be a hot name next weekend.
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