NFL Draft Spotlight: Dexter McCluster, RB, Mississippi

by Cory J. Bonini on April 20, 2010 @ 00:00:00 PDT

 


The diminutive running back from Mississippi has made spectacular plays on the field but still can't shake the label that he is a scat back. He is Dexter McCluster, and the 5-foot-9, 172-pounder is out to prove the world wrong after he is selected in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Strengths

  • Insane agility and lateral quickness
  • Athletic
  • Stronger than size suggests
  • Elusive runner - can make defenders look foolish in short quarters
  • Capable return specialist
  • Willing blocker that can be considered pesky
  • Good hands - catches away from body; can make adjustments on the fly
  • Runs better between the tackles than his size indicates
  • Very productive: 1,169 rushing yards (6.5 per carry), eight rushing touchdowns, three receiving scores (44 catches for 520 yards)
  • Positional versatility - can line up in the slot

Weaknesses

  • Poor route-running skills
  • Straight-line speed in question after a 4.53-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine
  • Injury history (shoulder suffered nerve damage in 2006; aggravated the injury in 2007)
  • Doesn't catch well in traffic
  • Easily taken down if wrapped up
  • Lack of bulk - doesn't have the frame to add much weight without losing speed and agility

Expected draft placement

There is a lot to like about McCluster. Creative offensive coordinators in the NFL will have a blast with him. Don't be confused, though, as there is little reason to think McCluster will blossom into a full-time back. In a change-of-pace role, he could be a lethal weapon. Through screen passes, wide receiver bubble screens, slip screens pitches and sweeps, getting McCluster to the outside will be the name of the game for him in the NFL. If he can stay healthy, look for a player with the potential to change games.

Expect McCluster to come off the board in the second round. We'll be a bit surprised if he falls out of the round, but his physical limitations ensure he will not be a first-round choice.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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