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Prospect Profiles-ATH Dexter McCluster (Ole Miss)

Fuchs just did the first Giantsgab Mock Draft of the year . Check it out if you get the time. I also just posted the profile of CB Joe Haden who might actually be available at 15 now after his very slow 40 at the combine.

I could sum up this entire post with two facts: Dexter McCluster is very explosive and he is very small, but that would be shotty work so I will do what I normally do for these profiles.

Pro-Draft Party Highlights

Dexter McCluster


Born August 25th 1988. Senior.

5’9 172 pounds. (And therein lies all the questions about Dexter McCluster)

Combine 40 time 4.55, 20 reps at 225. 37.5 inch vertical.

McCluster was suprisingly slow at the 40 and suprisingly strong at the bench press. He outlifted a few of the offensive linemen at the combine, at weight that is nearly 1 and a half times his body weight.

Stats (

Career: 304 attempts (14 attempts his first two years), 1,955 yards, 15 touchdowns.

2009: 181 attempts, 1169 yards 6.5 yards per rush. 8 touchdowns. 44 receptions for 522 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Big Games:

@ Alabama 6 attmptes for 15 yards 3 receptions for 22 yards.

Vs Arkansas 22 carries 123 yards 7 receptions for a 137 yards and a touchdown.

@ Auburn 22 carries for 186 yards (1 touchdown). 4 cathces for 17 yards.

vs Tenneesse 25 carries for 282 yards. 4 touchdowns. 4 receptions for 42 yards.

vs LSU 24 carries 148 yards 3 catches for 18 yards.

vs Oklahoma State (Cotton Bowl) 34 attmepts 184 yards 2 touchdowns. 5 catches for 45 yards.

IF you were to ask Eric Berry from Tennesse I’m sure he would be in favor of draftin McCluster.

Here’s what worries you about McCluster he had some HUGE games…but he had 4 games where he had under 20 yards rushing, but knowing how Sneed played this year that could have been becuase they turned the ball over on the first play of every series.

ESPN’s Scouts Inc (1 exceptional, 3 average, 5 marginal)

Production 2 2006: (6/5)  15 catches, 232 yards (15.5 avg.), 1 TD; 8 carries, 68 yards, 1 TD. 2007: (8/3)  27 catches, 326 yards (12.1), 2 TD; 6 carries, 63 yards 2008: (13/8)  44 catches, 625 yards (14.2), 1 TD; 109 carries, 655 yards, 6 TD
Height-Weight-Speed 4 Blazing speed but marginal size. Is short and lean. Will struggle to overcome lack size in NFL as a scat-back and/or slot-receiver type.
Durability 4 Missed some time during 2009 spring practice with ankle sprain. Missed four games in 2007 six games in 2006 due to a lingering shoulder injury. Marginal size only adds to long-term durability worries for McCluster.
Intangibles 3 Versatile playmaker who will play any role to help the team. No off the field issues to our knowledge.
Running Back specific Traits
Competitiveness 3 Very quick and fluid. Can get in and out of breaks without a lot of wasted motion. A bit unpolished as a route runner. Lacks awareness reading coverage. Will struggle getting off the line of scrimmage versus press technique.
Vision/Patience 4 Hands are solid as a receiver. Can pluck on the run and does a good job of adjusting to poorly-thrown balls. He’s not great at securing the ball in traffic, though. In addition, he has done a terrible job of protecting the football. Saw him fumble multiple times on film in 2008, including games versus Alabama and Vanderbilt. Must improve ball security in order to contribute in a versatile role in the NFL.
Inside Runner 3 His marginal size limits his deep-ball potential. He’s a bigger threat with the ball in his hands than he is as a vertical route runner. Still, he has very good top-end speed and he gets there in a hurry. He’s clearly capable of stretching the field from the slot.
Outside Runner 2 Experienced with the ball in his hands in all facets of the game. Excellent hip fluidity and elusiveness. Will consistently make first defender miss in space. Shows great initial quickness and a second-gear to run away from defenders in the open field.
Passing Game 2 Tougher than expected. Will hit the line of scrimmage hard as a runner and not afraid to lower his shoulder, despite marginal bulk/power. Appears to be a very competitive

Football Fan Spot

1/17/10: A blur of a football player who is a bit undersized. He has lined up at both running back and wide receiver in his career and had 1169 rushing yards and 520 receiving yards last season. He has also lined up as a wildcat so there’s going to be a spot in the NFL for him, though it is not going to be a conventional one. He will play the Percy Harvin role for a team, a slot receiver, return guy, and occasional 3rd down back and wildcat and will be plenty valuable doing so.

8/6/09: Speed thrills in the NFL so McCluster is going to get some looks in the mid rounds. He has great versatility and can play running back and wide receiver and had 600 yards of each last season. He can be a 3rd down back and a slot receiver and maybe play some wildcat if he can learn to throw. He’s a poor man’s Percy Harvin and is less injury prone. He’s smaller than Harvin though. He could stand to put on about 10 or 15 pounds, but doing so could hurt his speed, which is pretty much the only thing he brings to the table of an NFL prospect. Though he has never had major injury problems in the past, his small frame leaves him susceptible to injuries. Even though he is small and one dimensional, his blazing speed makes him valuable to an NFL team, especially in the new wildcat era. His versatility also helps his draft stock a lot.

NFL Comparison: Poor man’s Percy Harvin


Undersized for the running back position and may end up being a wide receiver or return specialist at the next level. McCluster got a lot of all purpose yardage as a combination running back/receiver in Mississippi’s offense. He has had ball security issues over the years and needs to prove he can avoid turnovers if he wants to prove a player his size can contribute. He has the speed to turn a short dump off pass into a long touchdown with just a single missed tackle. While he is a bit of a luxury item, some team is apt to take a chance that he can contribute in situations.


McCluster possesses elite speed and explosiveness for the running back position. Has outstanding initial quickness needed to get through the hole. Displays impressive receiving skills and can be a threat deep down the field. Feisty player who loves to compete. Has dangerous elusiveness in space, is a terror on the perimeter, and is a true home run threat.


McCluster does not have the necessary size and strength to carry the load at next level. Could struggle with his inside running but was willing and productive in college. Blocking is an area of concern due to his lack of size and strength necessary to pick up blitzing linebackers. May not break many tackles.

Big Board Rankings

ESPN Scouts Inc 55.

CBS NFL Draft Scout 56

The Football Fan Spot 83

Bartolis Summary and Final Verdict

McCluster is a threat to take it the distance every time he touches the ball. McCluster is also very little for an N.F.L. running back or Wide Receiver, which he is both or neither. McCluster is getting a lot of listings as ATH, or athlete. McCluster is not even a 175 pounds and he’s  at most 5’9 inches.

What he does do well though, is catch the ball great for a Running back. And he reaches his second gear instantly.

Final Verdict

Reese is clearly Best Player Available in most cases and the Giants grading will depend on whether or not the Giants show any interest in McCluster and when. If you think McCluster is able to withstand the punishment he is a very solid second round pick and has the talent of a first round pick. However, not a lot of people think he can withstand a constant pounding and that most teams will use McCluster for 10 touches a game, mostly coming out of the backfield as a pass catcher and ocassional runs.

Darren Sproles is a natural comparision for McCluster becuase both are small and explosive. Another one of the major concerns, (but again relating to size) is whether or not McCluster can even block to be in on passing downs.

I believe the Giants need a player who can catch the ball out of the backfield and take it the distance. Bradshaw is O.K. at that, but he’s not Sproles, McCluster, or C.J. Spiller at that (or what McCluster and Spiller could be). I am not against drafting McCluster, especially in the third round, but even the second round is fine value.

I, however, do not think that McCluster is really a Tom Coughlin kind of player (the perception of course being that Couhglin wants guys blocking, blocking, blocking and contributing on Special team….which D.J. Ware didn’t get to do and I can’t imagine McCluster doing that then) and I don’t see him ending up on the Giants.

Previous Profiles

CB Joe Haden

S Nate Allen

Jason Pierre Paul

DT Geno Atkins

DT Lamarr Houston

RB Jahvid Best

OT Trent Williams

Derrick Morgan

OL Mike Iupati

S Chad Jones

OLB/DE Sergio Kindle

Sean Weatherspoon

ILB Sean Lee

S Eric Berry

OT Bruce Campbell

ILB Daryl Washington

DT/NT Dan Williams (Updated with K.C. Joyner’s Draft Lab 2/7)

CB Kyle Wilson

DT Jared Odrick

DE Carlos Dunlap

ILB Micah Johnson

DT Arthur Jones

OT Bryan Baluga

OT Anthony Davis (UPDATED 2/5/10)

DT Brian Price

ILB Brandon Spikes

S Earl Thomas

ILB Rolando McClain

RB C.J. Spiller

S Taylor Mays

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5 Responses to “Prospect Profiles-ATH Dexter McCluster (Ole Miss)”

  1. […] Prospect Profiles-ATH Dexter McCluster (Ole Miss) » Giants Gab […]

  2. […] Prospect Profiles-ATH Dexter McCluster (Ole Miss) » Giants Gab […]

  3. Steve B. says:

    I like McCluster, just not in the 2nd round. When I first saw him, and looked at his draft grade at the time, it was a 4th round grade. And I would have been okay with that for the Giants.

    But lets face it, Reese has not taken a RB higher than the 4th round. And there are questions to whether he can take the punishment.

    And the whole BPA thing is a little misleading. If Sam Bradford is there at 15, I am pretty sure the Giants are not going to take him. In the early rounds its BPA for your need positions. In the later rounds 3 or 4 on then its BPA.

    Example: So say the Giants have 2 high priority needs, a MLB and a DT. Now If the giants have the 15th pick in the draft, and there is a QB rated 10th, a WR rated 14th,a MLB rated 16, and an DT rated 20. They are going to go with the MLB, because its a position of need, even though its not the highest rated, they are going to fill there needs based on which position is highest. Not the QB or the WR. The 2 choices are MLB and DT, based on who is rated higher out of those 2, thats who they chose.

    They definitely take this approach in the first round. And most of the time in the 2nd round. 3-4 they try to fill some needs, but do take BPA. 5-7 is usually based on BPA.

    • Yeah when I say BPA I really mean that we won’t reach for a player.

      If you need a MLB and you have three players ranked right near each other maybe you take the need.

      But what I’m saying is

      you NEED a LB and a DT

      and at 15 you have Sean Weatherspoon, Brandon Spikes, Brian Price available and the Giants don’t feel any of those are top 15 prospects…

      they should go in a different direction.

      That’s what I mean by Best Player Available…

      I guess I don’t mean it literally Best Player Available…

      but let’s say the Giants have C.J. Spiller rated as their number 5 overall prospect (hypothetically) and he’s there at 15, but not a huge need. I think they should take him if he’s CLEARLY the best player available?

      Make sense where I’m coming from that?

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