Tuesday, August 10, 2010

8/10 Sleeper of the Day: Dexter McCluster


Think of McCluster as Percy Harvin Lite. He won’t make quite as much of an impact as the versatile Viking did as a rookie last year, but he’ll be valuable nonetheless and won’t cost as much as Harvin did on draft day.

McCluster, Kansas City’s second-round draft pick in April, was an outstanding performer at Ole Miss, where he lined up all over the field and amassed 1,700 all-purpose yards and scored 11 total TDs as a senior. Area high school football followers may remember McCluster as a standout at Largo High, where he was named the St. Petersburg Times’ All-Suncoast Player of the Year in 2005.

Listed at only 5-foot-9 and 172 pounds, McCluster’s even smaller than Harvin, but he’s got just as much speed, and he’s no weakling, having put up 20 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press at the NFL Combine. The Chiefs, who’ve sorely lacked offensive playmakers in recent years, have visions of McCluster as a slot receiver, scat back, wildcat runner and return man. It’s hard to pin down his exact role, but coach Todd Haley has lined up him all over the field so far this preseason.

I can’t see McCluster challenging Jamaal Charles or Thomas Jones for too many carries out of the backfield or taking away too many receptions from Dwayne Bowe or Chris Chambers, but I think Kansas City will definitely try to get him a fair share of touches. As always with hybrid players of his ilk (Harvin, Reggie Bush, Darren Sproles) it’ll be difficult to count on McCluster for consistent production. But I like him as No. 4 WR who you might get a big week out of here or there when you need to sub him in or use him as your flex player. Look for him late in your draft.

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