Cowboys Potential Draft Picks: Dexter McCluster, RB/WR, Ole Miss
A few weeks back, we proposed the idea of Dallas bringing in current Saints play-maker Reggie Bush. We received a large outcry from fans proclaiming the Cowboys “don’t need another running back.”
We couldn’t agree more.
The value of a player like Bush is that he is not just a running back. He is a top-notch slot receiver and, more importantly, an extraordinary return man. The Cowboys temporarily used a roster spot on a return specialist last season–Allen Rossum–so signing an athlete who can play either offense or defense in addition to being a play-making returner is just a bonus.
Unfortunately, Sean Payton recently claimed that the team will not even entertain the notion of releasing Bush, so that is a lottery ticket the ‘Boys will not be able to cash. Still, the need for an upgrade at both return spots, particularly kick returner, is significant. We actually see it as the team’s largest offseason priority.
There are a few Bush-like players available in this year’s draft, perhaps none as versatile as Ole Miss RB/WR Dexter McCluster.
Scouts expected McCluster to run a sub-4.4 forty at the Combine, only to be incredibly disappointed with his 4.58 official time. That sort of straight-line speed is not particularly good for any running back/wide receiver, particularly one who is 5’6”, 171 pounds.
However, McCluster plays much faster than he timed. There is a reason scouts projected him to record a blazing forty in Indianapolis– he is just a football player. He looks fast on film because he has game speed. We will take game speed over track speed any day.
Thus, despite his time, McCluster is an explosive athlete. He has tremendous change of direction and his hips are fluid enough that he could probably play cornerback without people noticing too much. He is simply one of the top athletes in the draft.
McCluster is a RB/WR hybrid who excels running outside the tackles. He will certainly be limited if he is used as a pure running back. His greatest impact will come through utilizing the skills he does have at a variety of positions. In short, the pressure will be on Jason Garrett to find creative ways to provide McCluster with the ball in space.
McCluster possesses great hands and looks natural when lined up out wide, running routes as if receiver was his sole position in college.
The most dynamic part of McCluster’s game, and the component sure to interest Dallas, is his return ability. McCluster would likely become the opening day starter at both punt and kick returner. He could also compete with Crayton in the slot, as well as receive a few touches a game as a running back or by using more creative methods (end arounds, Wildcat, etc)
Overall, he is a Reggie Bush who can be had for much less money.
If the Cowboys are interested in McCluster, his poor Combine performance could be a blessing in disguise. McCluster is now very likely to drop the Cowboys’ 59th overall pick.
Many fans are crying for the Cowboys to upgrade the safety and offensive tackle positions in rounds one and two, but if a play-maker like McCluster is available in the second round, it might be hard for Dallas to pass him up.
It will be interesting to see how much McCluster’s 40-yard dash time and lack of ideal size will scare teams.
We projected McCluster to become a Cowboy in our first mock draft.