Rebels' Dexter McCluster turns on speed for NFL scouts

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by cowboyjoe, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. cowboyjoe

    cowboyjoe Well-Known Member

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    Rebels' Dexter McCluster turns on speed for NFL scouts
    By Ron Higgins
    Posted March 24, 2010 at midnight
    ..OXFORD, Miss. -- Maybe it was the bright yellow shoes given to him by his running coach, Michael Johnson, one of the greatest Olympic track medalists in history.

    Or maybe it was the fact that with the pressure on the line, Ole Miss senior running back/receiver Dexter McCluster always produces.

    Whatever the case, McCluster answered any remaining questions about his speed on Tuesday at Ole Miss' pro day before 30 NFL scouts in the indoor practice facility. He flashed those yellow Nikes for 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash, substantially better than the 4.58 he ran at last month's NFL combine, when he stumbled at the start.

    "These aren't quite the gold shoes that Michael used to wear, but I fell in love with them and they felt good on me," said McCluster, a probable first-round draft choice because of his versatility. "I'm happy with my time, because it's an improvement. I want to show teams I'm the guy to pick."

    Because of his time at the NFL combine -- the only weak mark on a day in which the 5-9, 170-pound McCluster bench-pressed 220 pounds 20 times and had a 37-inch vertical leap -- his speed was the one remaining question for scouts Tuesday.

    McCluster, who ran for almost 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns last season despite not starting at running back until the seventh game, has never doubted his speed.

    "If you put somebody behind me, I'm getting to the end zone," said McCluster, who has trained the last couple of months at Johnson's complex in Mc-Kinney, Texas, just outside of Dallas.

    The NFL scouts put McCluster and 21 other draft-eligible Ole Miss players through the typical combine tests such as the 40-yard dash, the long jump, the shuttle run and the L-drill, which is designed for quick bursts of speed, change of direction and cutting.

    As fast as McCluster ran, the eye-opener of the day was when cornerback Cassius Vaughn, a former East High star, ran the 40 in 4.3 seconds, solidifying him as a fast-rising draft sleeper.

    Vaughn had plenty of motivation. He wasn't invited to the NFL combine, so he has spent the last couple of months training in Houston, waiting to strut his stuff for the scouts.

    "It was money time; there was a lot of pressure with all eyes on you," Vaughn said of his blazing 40. "Not going to the combine was a big disappointment for me; it was a pride thing to measure up against the best. Today was my shot."

    Ole Miss defensive end Greg Hardy of Briarcrest, one of the best sack artists (261/2 in 40 games) in Ole Miss history when he was healthy, ran the 40 in 4.65 seconds and showed much agility for someone who is 6-5 and weighs 277 pounds.

    Hardy said despite the injury problems he has had in his career -- broken foot, sprained ankle, broken wrist -- most of the questions he has been asked by NFL teams have been about his attitude, which until last season had been suspect.

    "It's all been about character issues, letting teams get to know me, showing them I'm a good guy," Hardy said. "I'm showing them I'm a hard worker and a good guy."

    Also, quarterback Jevan Snead, who is entering the draft as a junior, looked exceptionally sharp for the scouts. He threw about 50 balls and had only three or four overthrows.

    "I felt like I had terrific day," he said. "I just mixed it up and showed I could throw a bit of everything."

    -- Ron Higgins: 529-2525
  2. Joe Rod

    Joe Rod When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong

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    Wow, much earlier than I would have thought for him.
  3. SidelineScouting

    SidelineScouting New Member

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    McCluster won't be going in the first round. Mid-to-late second is more likely. Yes, he's a versatile weapon, but you don't spend first round picks on 172 pound running backs whose main value is as a change-of-pace back and third down specialist.

    He's a really good guy though and I'm glad he ran better at his pro-day. I was very disappointed by the 4.58 he turned in at the combine.
  4. Hoofbite

    Hoofbite Well-Known Member

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    No, you spend 1st round picks on playmakers. If the guy can make plays, he can make plays.

    I'm done talking about guys being too wittle to pway da game. I used to buy that crap.

    Desean Jackson is a flea and he makes plays. Give me a play making small guy over a big, impressive guy who is only being picked because he looks good in spandex.
  5. SidelineScouting

    SidelineScouting New Member

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    Desean Jackson is a WR, McCluster is a RB.

    You can survive much better as a small WR than RB. The question with small WRs are always how they get off the line against the jam. Jackson has proven that he has enough moves to fight of a jam.

    At RB, there's a big difference between height and size. You can be short and be great, height has nothing to do with it. Size/build does matter though. Name one running back in the past decade who has succeeded in the NFL at under 175 pounds. Even Darren Sproles is 5'6, 181 pounds. You need to be able to take the pounding of the NFL.

    Yes, McCluster is a playmaker, but he's a playmaker who may only get 8-10 touches out of the backfield per game. That's not worth a first round pick no matter how you look at it.
  6. Hoofbite

    Hoofbite Well-Known Member

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    It's likely Dallas is thinking of him as a WR/KR more than RB.
  7. FuzzyLumpkins

    FuzzyLumpkins The Boognish

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    Yeah I agree with that. With the way the rules are going protecting receivers as they catch the ball and the illegal contact were going to see more players like that succeed.

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