Jaguars Working Out Diminutive Star

The Jaguars, desperate for another playmaker to boost the league's 24th ranked scoring offense from a year ago, will look to the draft to fill this particular need. The team was apparently impressed with Mississippi running back Dexter McCluster, who averaged 7.5 yards per touch last season.

Dexter McCluster looks nothing like your typical running back or receiver, as he's vertically challenged, to put it affectionately. McCluster stands just 5'8" tall and weighs less than 170 lbs. He's not a blazing runner, but he routinely made defenders miss in the toughest conference in the nation, the SEC. There are certainly size concerns with McCluster, but the success of smaller backs and wideouts such as Reggie Bush and Percy Harvin are helping debunk the myth that you have to be north of 200 pounds to be a valuable contributor on offense.

"Bush and Harvin are having great success, which is obviously helping me out," McCluster said. "A lot of smaller guys are having success too, helping me out. So it's good to have some people like that in the league right now that's having great success and contributing to a team, that way I can step in and show that I can make the same impact as they are."

We asked McCluster if teams were concerned about his size and the answer he gave was surprising.

"It was more so early on. Now, a lot of teams aren't really talking about the weight or height situation. A lot of them are saying, 'We really don't care. You're a playmaker. You play football, so that's what you do. Your game speaks for itself.' They see I'm not scared to take on a block, a man-to-man block, and they see that I can make one man miss. Right now I don't think it's such a big issue. It never was an issue for me because it's been that way all my life, always a smaller guy. I had to work that much harder to get better and to prove that there is something different about me."

The Jaguars have never been a team that shied away from smaller players as they struck gold with Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew when they selected him with the 60th pick in the 2006 draft. McCluster is no Maurice Jones-Drew, but the Jaguars might believe that he can be effective in a role where he gets the football in space.

Where McCluster may be best is in return duties, as he was stellar at Ole Miss. Dexter is more sudden than fast, and he is certain willing to make a difference on special teams.

"A lot of people say they see me at kickoff return, punt return," McCluster said. "They ask me, 'Which do I like best?' I told them punt return. I love that you have to think a little quicker. I love that. My quickness and ability to stop and go, I believe, is a big aspect of my game. I always want to be a gunner on the punt team. I love doing that. I tried to get on it this year, but coach wouldn't let me do it to save me. But that's something I love."

Scout.com NFL Draft Expert Chris Steuber gave his analysis on McCluster in this exclusive prospect profile http://profootball.scout.com/2/940724.html.

It is being reported by many sources that the Jaguars brought McCluster in for a private workout this week and he is currently expected to be a middle round pick in next month's draft.


Jags Illustrated Top Stories