Ole Miss's McCluster an Intriguing Option

The Cardinals already possess a plethora of firepower on offense, but there is nothing wrong with adding depth to the talent pool. Dexter McCluster, a duel threat at running back and wide receiver, is certainly a dynamic prospect in this year's draft. But would the desert be the right place for him? Andy Bishop examines.

10/24/10 vs. Arkansas – 22 rushes for 137 yards. Seven receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown.

11/14/10 vs. Tennessee – 25 rushes for 286 yards and four touchdowns.

1/2/10 vs. Oklahoma State (Cotton Bowl) – 34 carries for 184 and two touchdowns.

These three performances during the 2009 season illustrate perfectly the explosiveness of Ole Miss running back Dexter McCluster.

McCluster can be best described as a running back/wide receiver tweener. As a senior in 2009 he ran for 1169 yards—nearly all of which came during the latter half of the season—and had 520 receiving yards.

Dexter McCluster
At 5'8" and 165 pounds, he is a lot like San Diego's Darren Sproles and the Cardinals' LaRod Stephens-Howling. In addition, he has the ability to line up in the slot as a receiver. McCluster finished with 44 receptions in both his junior and senior seasons.

Although much smaller, McCluster can be compared with the likes 2009 rookie sensation Percy Harvin, who has the ability to play receiver, run the wildcat, and return kicks.

"Wherever they want me, I'll be there," said McCluster in a recent interview. "Whether it's punt return, kick return, slot receiver, running back. Wherever. I'm gonna let them know they're gonna get everything out of me."

So are the Cardinals in need of a playmaker like McCluster? The simple answer is no. While he does boast great talent, Arizona already has enough playmakers on offense. The team has a solid combo at running back with Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower, and Stephens-Howling is a good change of pace back and returner.

In 2010, the Cardinals will have Steve Breaston or Early Doucet to fill the slot receiver position, so there isn't a huge need at receiver either.

It would make sense for the Cardinals to draft McCluster or another player like him in the later round of the draft. The problem is that McCluster is expected to be a mid second-round pick.

Superior to the running back and wide receiver position in the draft for Arizona should be adding depth to the defensive line, addressing positions on the offensive line, and adding a pass rusher.

If McCluster falls far enough to the Cardinals' pick in the second round, there is the chance of course that Arizona could pull the trigger. There is no denying the intriguing talent he brings to the table.

But at this point, it would definitely be a stretch as Arizona has bigger holes to fill.

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