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Dexter McCluster WR from Mississippi

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by carolinatony, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. carolinatony

    carolinatony In the Starting Line-Up

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    From Draftdebacled.com
    I know zero about him and don't believe BB would take a WR in the first round with pass rush our biggest need.
    If we went WR late 2nd or 3rd and he was around, would he be a good pick.
    Anyone know much about him?
    thanks

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    #29 I believe that McCluster is the most explosive, dynamic offensive skill player in college football. He makes a great play almost every time he touches the ball. The Pats can use him at WR and RB, just as Ole Miss does. They need the speed at both positions. Rookie of the year candidate if he's on the Pats. You heard it here first.
     
  2. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Very glad you brought McCluster up. He's an interesting prospect.

    He's a 5'9" 170# senior from Mississippi who has really come on strong as an all-purpose threat. In 2008 he rushed for 655 yards (6.0 YPC averager) and caught 44 catches for 625 yards. This season he has been on fire, and has been a one-man offense for Mississippi over the last 4 games. Against Arkansas he rushed for 123 yards (5.6 YPC) and caught 7 passes for 137 yards. Against Auburn he rushed for 186 yards (8.6 YPC). After missing a game against national powerhouse Northern Arizona he returned against Tennessee and rushed for 282 yards and 4 TDs on 25 carries (11.3 average). And against LSU he rushed for 148 yards and threw a 27 yard TD pass in keying a 25-23 upset.

    All of this has gotten McCluster a lot of attention. He's obviously versatile, lining up at RB and WR, and elusive. He's never fumbled in 4 years. And he's extremely agile and fast. After the Tennessee game Lane Kiffin compared him to Chris Johnson, predicted he would run a 4.3 40, and predicted he will be a 1st round pick. Les Miles has also sung his praises.

    I don't know where McCluster will end up right now. He has a ways to go to catch CJ Spiller and Jahvid Best as an all-purpose back, and West Virginia Noel Devine may come out as well. But he's worth watching, and may end up going 1st day if he continues to remind people of Chris Johnson.

    SEC notebook: Gracious McCluster enjoys breakout The Commercial Appeal
     
  3. carolinatony

    carolinatony In the Starting Line-Up

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    He's never fumbled in 4 years.


    That's amazing. Thanks Mayo
     
  4. PatriotsInGA

    PatriotsInGA In the Starting Line-Up

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    #11 Jersey

    I've seen McCluster play once before back in his sophomore season against Georgia and he lit us up. He is more effective as a RB than as a WR. His hands are slowly getting worse every year, which could be a problem if BB were to play him as a receiver.

    He's a great athlete, but keep him as a running back.
     
  5. reamer

    reamer Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    Nice thread. I'm behind in my commentaries, and I keep meaning to say something about McCluster.

    I agree that he's a better RB than WR, though he seems fluid and natural pass-catching. What sets him apart from most so-called third-down specialists is his ability to actually block, which is a requirement for playing passing downs. Most commentators simply want to pigeonhole scatbacks as third-down guys, without realizing they need to be able to either stay in to block or go out on a pass pattern. McCluster blocks with a vengeance.

    He's not super-shifty; he makes slight adjustments to his momentum that carries him past would-be tacklers, but he keeps moving down field. That's not to say he can't evade defenders--he's one of the more elusive runners I've ever seen, but he does it by distorting pursuit angles and being patient with his blockers instead of trying to dart around like a firefly. He's always looking for positive yards, not highlight reels.

    All the comparisons to Chris Johnson are quite apt. Johnson was one of my binkies a few years ago, and I always felt people overlooked him. Well, a year and a half later, I feel justified for giving him a first-round grade when my friends thought he'd be special teams/change of pace guy. They both go from zero to maximum speed in the blink of an eye, and both use their momentum as a weapon, both for evasion and collision. That said, McCluster doesn't have quite the bulk Johnson has, and he probably isn't a 20 - 25 carries/game kind of guy. He is, however, a surprisingly effective inside runner with good toughness, patience, agility, and balance. He's a great player, and I'd rather see him replace Faulk than any other back I've scouted in college.

    Several players stand between McCluster and the first round: Spiller, Best, Devine, and possibly speedsters like Demps, Ford, and Holliday. McCluster is hot right now, but the combine has a way of warping people's memories of actual gameplay, and I think all those track guys put up better 40 times. I believe McCluster will fall because of his size and a perceive lack of a defined role. He's not a poor-man's Percy Harvin, in that he can shimmy and shake in close quarters and take it the distance, and he's considerably smaller and less accomplished as a route runner. He may be used in a similar way, and he'll be valuable to a team, but he faces the same problem I do: he's too small for people to take him seriously. I believe he'll be available in the late 2nd, early 3rd, and possibly later. I'm not at all opposed to trading back slightly and acquiring a 3rd in hopes we can snag this kid. He's absolute lightening.

    DISCLAIMER: I have a soft spot for small players, because I'm a 5'7, 185# kid who's heard all my life that I'm too small for football. I'll graduate with my BS this spring, and never once have I had the chance to play organized football, though I've absolutely dominated in pick-up games, often against guys twice my size who've played in high school or college. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than running over 6'2 250# former defensive ends and gaining their grudging respect for my physicality and power. It's my hope that players like McCluster (and Welker, Sproles, Smith, MJD, etc) can change the stereotypes of what is and isn't possible for an "undersized" player. I'll never have a chance, but I hope others do.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  6. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    How would you rate McCluster vs. Noel Devine?

    I'd be very happy to pick up an elusive all-purpose guy that one of those kids in the 3rd round. I just don't want to spend a 1st or early 2nd round pick on Spiller and Best given our other needs.
     
  7. reamer

    reamer Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    I think it's a potential vs. consistency rubric: it all depends on which you rate more highly.

    Devine has truly jaw-dropping change of direction skills. His ability to swivel his hips one way and then move the other direction is astonishing. I'm into a lot of movement arts (parkour, gymnastics, slacklining, capoeria, rock climbing, mime, contact improv, modern dance, physical theatre, mma, etc), and I've rarely seen anyone with his body control. Usually your body follows your hips, but he's able to isolate his hips and project a trajectory that he doesn't actually follow. His ability to rebound from each step and use his muscles like springs instead of just shock-absorbers or power-sources really set him apart. He is every bit as elusive as Barry Sanders.

    Devine doesn't consistently generate power with his lower body, however, and a direct hit will always take him down. The trick is heading him directly--most players at the college level have difficulty with that. He's got exceptional balance, and gets moving again in a hurry. I don't believe he's blazing fast, though, and if people claim that Maroney dances, they'd have an aneurysm trying to keep up with Devine. A truly feast or famine type of player.

    McCluster, on the other hand, runs downhill despite his size, and generally changes course by a few degrees one way or another to play the angles and set up his runs. He is much faster, has better acceleration, and finishes runs hard. He's a big-play threat in his own right, but I think he's a more mature, balanced player. He strikes me as the more hard-nosed of the two, and I've heard nothing but praise for his high football IQ. They move him around in the offense, and his coach claims he only needs to see the play drawn up once to get it down perfectly in practice or games on his first try. He's a low-rep kind of guy.

    I'm biased, I'll admit. I prefer watching Devine run. I love his style, and I think more runners should be creative--it's an art form, really. McCluster's approach is a better scheme fit with the Patriots, however. I see his skill set translating more directly to the NFL, and I think he'll be a very good player for a very long time. I could see him running the Kevin Faulk draw play to perfection. :)
     
  8. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thanks for the comparison. McCluster does sound like a better fit for the Pats based on your description. Devine is very enticing, however.
     
  9. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

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    Except for a guy in Jamaica, I don't believe there is anyone on the planet "much faster" than Devine. I'm not a big fan of Devine (plays small, not used in the passing game much, questionable ball security) but he is a blur when he gets going.
     

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