It would be easy to blame NFL teams for being skittish in regards to McClusters' 5'8", 171 pound frame. That size may cut it in the college ranks but not in the NFL; at least not as an every down player. To their credit though, the Chiefs took him that high because obviously they didn't feel any of those shortcomings were an issue.
It is interesting with other needs on the board, the Chiefs brass didn't think an overflow of running backs was a problem they could live with heading into training camp. They passed on DT Terrence Cody and DE Sergio Kindle so they could plug McCluster into their offense as a receiver.
And looking at their roster this makes sense when you consider the Chiefs receiving core isn't deep or talented. Last year Todd Haley pegged Lance Long as his pet project. It failed. And they recently signed David Grimes. So do we really need another grossly undersized receiver?
Those negatives could hood signs for the Chiefs, who may have reached on a player they just didn't need. But as we learned after the draft, it was the Chiefs belief that he was far too versatile a player to pass up. But does not mean it will work out in the Chiefs favor?
As a rookie and a second round pick, he's going to get a lot of leeway to earn his opportunity to impact the offense and/or special teams. Still he'll have to work harder than everyone else because most will doubt he can make the jump to the NFL based on his size alone.
If the Chiefs use him as both a slot receiver and a running back, he'll have to overcome the daunting task of learning the playbook for multiple positions. What happens if they also line him up as a quarterback or use him as a return specialist? That's a lot to ask of a rookie.
But that's likely the plan. The Chiefs drafted McCluster for his ability to play multiple positions in Charlie Weis's new offense. But if the Chiefs throw too much at him, they may end up with a player that can't play any at all.
Nick Athan (Counterpoint)
Yes size matters but the heart of a player cant be measured. McCluster is Dante Hall on speed. He's also twice the receiver, a better all around athlete, a better person and might end up being the Chiefs best rookie when it's all said in done regarding the 2010 season.
Can McCluster handle different roles for KC?
+Charlie Weis has an explosive player in McCluster that he'll be tempted to use in other areas. But I think he'll contain his focus at wide receiver. The Chiefs must develop a true slot receiver and they are hoping that this kid will become their New England version of Wes Welker.
And that's why the Chiefs drafted him this high. Another reason was that the Philadelphia Eagles were about to pluck him off the board a few picks later.
What McCluster brings to the Chiefs offense is killer speed and athleticism. He also brings a new weapon for Quarterback Matt Cassel. The Chiefs are pinning all of their hopes on their second year signal caller and they know they need more weapons at his disposal in order for the Chiefs to realize that the $63 million they've invested in him pays dividends this season.
With so much paid to the offensive line with a new center Casey Wiegmann and Guard Ryan Lilja, the drafting of McCluster makes a lot of sense.
The only danger the Chiefs have in messing up this pick is if they over use the kid. I'd avoid any ideas about putting him in the backfield with Jamaal Charles unless they use him as a decoy and split him out as a receiver.
They're already going to use him on special teams as a return man and that's more than enough McCluster we need to see on the field.
But the kid is so talented and such a competitor they might find it hard to limit him to one aspect of the offense.