I understand this will not be a popular topic, but I simply cannot find the value Dexter McCluster brings to the Chiefs on the field in a week by week basis.
McCluster: The Beginning
Dexter was drafted #4 in the 2nd round (#36 overall) of the 2010 NFL draft. At the time, I remember thinking the Chiefs would draft QB Jimmy Clausen from Notre Dame. Clausen was not a pick I was hoping for, but I thought, then offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis would convince Chiefs Brass they needed a QB and that Clausen was the way to go. Instead, the Chiefs drafted McCluster, a five foot nine inch, 172 lb. running back from Mississippi. “Great,” I thought, “we just drafted a kick returner with our 2nd pick in the draft…” and that was exactly the case.
Dexter McCluster’s Stats
The Chiefs converted McCluster to wide receiver, and used him primarily as a kick returner with a few punt returns in 2010. McCluster never impressed as a kick returner, with a long return of 36 yards. McCluster did, however, have a solid 15.5 return yard average on punts.
|Punt Returns||Kick Returns|
As an offensive player, McCluster’s performance was unnoteworthy, to say the least. 21 receptions for 209 yards with a long reception of 31 yards and one touchdown, with 18 rushes for 71 yards. Nothing to inspire excitement.
Entering 2011, the Chiefs promised to use Dexter McCluster even more in the offense, and in many more situations for this “dynamic” player.
The problem, with the NFL now moving kickoffs up 5 yards, the kick returner in the NFL has become less of an important position, and Dexter McCluster simply is not suited to play running back or wide receiver in the NFL. In 2011, Dexter has not returned a single punt, his strength in 2010, and is on pace to return only 21 kickoffs, 5 less than in 2010, when McCluster missed five games to injury.
|Punt Returns||Kick Returns|
As an offensive player in 2011, McCluster has improved his yards per carry average to 5.0, becoming more of a NFL running back. The problem – Dexter absolutely cannot run the ball between the tackles – the majority of his yards have come on tosses and sweeps to the corners. In the receiving game, McCluster simply does NOT make plays. With 19 receptions for 59 yard, Dexter is averaging 3.11 yards per reception. Funny thing here: Dexter McCluster’s yards after catch (YAC) is 3.16 yards (60 total yards).
These numbers don’t sound like the “dynamic” player I had in mind when the Chiefs promised to use McCluster more in 2011.
In comparison, here are some of the NFL players who are smaller and used in a similar manner, or have been compared to the way the Chiefs are trying to use McCluster:
- Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints – 39 carries, 289 rush yards, 45 receptions, 329 yards, 5 total touchdowns (1 punt return)
- Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins – 60, 232, 17, 97, 1
- Davone Bess, WR, Miami Dolphins – 0, 0, 24, 280, 0
- Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots – 1, 19, 51, 785, 6
I’m positive there are more, but these are the four who always seem to be lumped together as the small and “dynamic” short pass catchers, whether out of the backfield or slot receiver position.
Dexter McCluster’s (lack of) Impact on the Game
Now that we have looked at the statistical output of McCluster and comparisons to other “similar” players, it is important to mention that, at 175 lbs., McCluster simply cannot block anyone on any offensive play. I will not go too in-depth… Just watch any play where McCluster does not get the ball.
It is also worth mentioning: The best game of the season for veteran RB Thomas Jones was in week 5 against Indianapolis, when Jackie Battle recieved 19 carries for 119 yards, Jones had 10 carries for 55 yards and McCluster had 4 carries and only 1 reception.
Many fans and local Kansas City media members have said Thomas Jones simply is “done.” It happens to many NFL running backs, one day they’re simply “too old.” I do not believe this to be the case with Jones. In the Chiefs’ case, with McCluster as the #1 RB, Dexter simply is not big, strong and/or powerful enough to wear out a defensive front seven, meaning the defense is stronger and more prepared for a running back who is more likely to run up the gut when Jones comes into the game. Battle is the opposite. Jackie can wear out a defensive front seven.
It has become clear to me that McCluster simply has no value as an NFL player.
The Chiefs spend time game-planning for a player who simply is not productive. To me, this seems counter intuitive. Why spend time planning to use a player who never produces? I don’t have the answer.
If not McCluster, then who?
If the Chiefs are to abandon the Dexter McCluster experiment, who should be on the active roster?
If you’ve been reading my posts since last season, you know I love big-time WRs!
The Chiefs should make an attempt to sign future Hall of Famer, Terrell Owens. The six-time Pro Bowler had 72 receptions for 983 yards and nine touchdowns in 2010 with the Cincinnati Bengals when Carson Palmer was his quarterback. Yes, the same interception machine the Chiefs went up against last Sunday in Oakland.
Terrel Owens underwent surgery for a torn ACL in April and held an open workout Tuesday afternoon. Not a single NFL teams sent a scout to the workout.
“Just because they weren’t there doesn’t mean they weren’t interested,” Owens’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said. “I can guarantee that all 32 teams were interested.”
The Kansas City Chiefs currently lack a WR who will regularly go across the middle of the field. As close as Dwayne Bowe or Steve Breaston get to the middle of the field is on skinny post routes while lining up very wide. The Chiefs are greatly missing TE Tony Moeaki in this aspect of the game; a big receiver who isn’t afraid to catch balls while in traffic with threat of being hit hard by linebackers and safeties. Owens has made a career out of big plays across the middle of the field.
The Chiefs need to abandon the philosphy they currently employ with Dexter McCluster and switch to a big backfield with Jackie Battle and Thomas Jones and employ big and exciting WRs with Dwayne Bowe, Terrell Owens and Jonathan Baldwin with a bit of speed in Steve Breaston.
Currently at 3-3, the Kansas City Chiefs need to make a bold statement if the team is serious about contending in 2011.
What do you think about Dexter McCluster and the suggestion that the Kansas City Chiefs should sign Terrell Owens?