Small and Slow? Not So Much

This highly touted prospect answered questions about his speed in a pro day watched by the Packers on Tuesday. A source says the Packers really like this big-time weapon? Who is he? Check out our latest draft exclusive.

If there were questions about Dexter McCluster's speed — and there shouldn't have been — he answered them at Mississippi's pro day on Tuesday.

McCluster, who was clocked at about 4.60 seconds at the Scouting Combine, ran as fast as 4.39 in his 40-yard dashes in front of a group of scouts that included the Packers' Alonzo Highsmith, a source told Packer Report.

"I knew I could do better that I did at the Combine, where I stumbled at the start," McCluster, who wore yellow shoes, told Chuck Rounsaville of Scout.com's Ole Miss Web site. "I never doubted myself. I know I can run. All I can tell a scout is that if someone is chasing me, they are not going to catch me. I'm going to score."

McCluster, the electric, do-it-all offensive weapon, met with the Packers at the Senior Bowl — where he was arguably the best offensive player all week — and again at the Combine. At 5-foot-9 and 172 pounds, McCluster rushed for 1,169 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior and posted back-to-back seasons of 44 receptions. Throw in his ability to return kicks, and McCluster could be this year's Percy Harvin.

McCluster, who showed his strength with 20 reps on the 225-pound bench press at the Combine, showed his explosiveness by running the three-cone drill in 6.5 seconds on Tuesday. That's a full quarter-second faster than the fastest running back at the Combine (Jahvid Best's 6.75) and just off the fastest receiver (Scott Long's 6.45).

"They know I am strong and they can see on film I have toughness so that issue has gone away mostly," he said. "I'm also thankful to the smaller guys in the league who have opened things up for other smaller guys. Guys like Chris Johnson. They are playmakers. I am a playmaker. Give me a chance and I won't let you down."

The Packers also are high on hulking guard/tackle John Jerry (6-6, 330), who was superb at the Senior Bowl. Jerry benched 225 pounds 31 times on Tuesday.

The player who really helped himself is 5-foot-10 corner Cassius Vaughn, who started 12 games as a senior and nine as a junior. He picked off three passes in 2008 and two in 2009, when he tied for seventh in the SEC with 13 breakups. He posted eye-popping times of 4.30 and 4.34 in his 40s, according to Rounsaville.

North Carolina

The Packers were at Chapel Hill, where big Cam Thomas was the featured attraction. At 6-foot-4 and 331 pounds, scouts like him as a 3-4 nose tackle. Thomas met with the Packers at the Senior Bowl, where he proved to be mostly immovable. He ran a 5.09 40 on Tuesday and looked great in position drills, a source said, locking him up as a second-round prospect.

The Packers don't need a nose tackle, with Ryan Pickett re-signed and nose being B.J. Raji's ultimate destination. But two other defensive linemen, E.J. Wilson (6-3, 289) and Aleric Mullins (6-3, 296), could be late-round or undrafted prospects at end. Mullins' 40 time was an impressive 4.87 but he was only a rotation player behind Wilson and Thomas.

On offense, Kyle Jolly was a three-year starter at left tackle. He's a late-round option at right tackle.

Notre Dame

Big-play receiver Golden Tate, who is on the Packers' radar after the Scouting Combine, ran only the 60-yard shuttle, where his time was an underwhelming 11.67 seconds.

Eric Olsen (6-4, 306), a center/guard who is a mid-round possibility, and Sam Young (6-8, 305), a right tackle who also is a mid-round possibility, rested on their Combine numbers and did only position drills. So did safety Kyle McCarthy, who probably is too small for the Packers at 5-foot-10.

Quarterback Jimmy Clausen will work out on April 9.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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