Ole Miss star Dexter McCluster is one of the most explosive players in the draft. The Kansas City Chiefs are looking for playmakers. A match made in heaven? Scott Pioli would have to reach for McCluster if he wants him, with his draft stock on the rise according to NFP’s Matt Bowen.
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.
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.
With full time contributors needed out of the Chiefs first three picks, I was hoping Scott Pioli might take a chance with McCluster at the top of the third round. He would immediately solve the Chiefs issues in the return game and along with Jamaal Charles terrorize defensive coordinators in the AFC West.
Using McCluster for returns and Thomas Jones in the running game would also guarantee that Charles is always fresh, something he rarely was after taking over for Larry Johnson last season.
The question quickly becomes how high can you take a player that will most impact the game on special teams. To me No. 36 in the second round is too high and even though — as I said — I would prefer a full-time player at No. 50, it’s not the craziest idea in the world.
Best case scenario for McCluster-to-Kansas City would be for him to still be available in the last quarter of the second round and Pioli trading up from No. 68 in the third.