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Old 05-03-2010, 12:21 AM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Babb: New Chief McCluster shows strength to make up for lack of size

New Chief McCluster shows strength to make up for lack of size
By KENT BABB
The Kansas City Star

As much as the Chiefs might hope for one last growth spurt, or order Dexter McCluster to burn hours in the weight room, there’s a fact he has come to terms with.

“I can tell you one thing,” McCluster, a rookie slot receiver, said this weekend during Kansas City’s three-day rookie minicamp. “I’m 5-8 and 21 years old, so I don’t think I’m growing taller right now.”

The Chiefs drafted McCluster last weekend in the second round out of Mississippi. They like his speed and playmaking ability, and those skills remind observers of Philadelphia receiver DeSean Jackson and San Diego running back Darren Sproles. But like those players, it’s McCluster’s size that doesn’t seem a natural fit in the NFL.

McCluster is listed at 170 pounds, a weight that makes Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles — at 199 pounds — look like Hercules. Both Jackson and Sproles are each at least 10 pounds heavier than McCluster.

Now the Chiefs’ challenge is to try to add thickness to McCluster without sacrificing the speed and quickness that made him so enticing. Chiefs coach Todd Haley said that whatever happens next, McCluster already has proved that he possesses the mettle to hang in an NFL locker room.

“It takes special ability and character to make it at that size,” Haley said. “We feel he’s got the right combination of quickness, speed and strength, which is a key thing when you start talking about smaller receivers or backs.”

Haley compared McCluster to former New York Jets receiver Wayne Chrebet (5-10, 188 pounds) and former Chiefs and St. Louis kick returner Dante Hall (5-8, 187), players who overcame their diminutive statures with remarkable strength. Haley said he thought McCluster was a similar kind of player.

“Those are the things that you hear about him: He’s pound-for-pound the strongest guy at Mississippi,” Haley said.

McCluster admitted this weekend that this wasn’t the first time he’s been questioned about his size. It’s also not the first time he overcame those concerns and thrived. He played running back and receiver for the Rebels, catching 130 passes and rushing for 1,955 yards in four seasons. Haley said Friday that McCluster was one of the Chiefs’ highest-rated running backs and wide receivers on the team’s draft board when its turn came up early in the second round.

He was small for Southeastern Conference standards, too. Not that it affected his performance or confidence.

“There was never a time at Ole Miss that I doubted myself,” McCluster said. “All my life growing up, I’ve been a smaller guy and had to prove (myself) to people. It was pretty much the fuel to my success.”

Another thing that has fueled McCluster’s success is his willingness to work. He said he’d be up for extra work in the weight room or playing any position. He worked this weekend at running back, receiver and kick returner.

“We oriented him into multiple areas,” Haley said. “So it was important for us to see how he handled some of that: being in a different classroom, different meeting, different spots. We’re learning as much as they are, and it’s important.”

That’s not all.

“Hope he grows, too,” Haley said with a laugh.

Haley didn’t elaborate on the team’s plans to thicken McCluster before training camp, saying that the team will lean on first-year strength coach Mike Clark to design a program for McCluster.

Not that it matters, McCluster said.

“I want to make a name for myself,” he said. “Whatever they ask, you best believe I’m doing it.”
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:33 AM   #2
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How many times did he bench 225 at the combine
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:38 AM   #3
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:40 AM   #4
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I don't believe it
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:42 AM   #5
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Hope he lasts longer than Dante in the league.
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:49 AM   #6
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Wow. Hootie is right. This little bastard is one strong mofugger. Maybe that will put some of this injury concerns to bed a little. He was the STRONGEST wide receiver, lifted more than 245 lbs Lagarette Blount, and at least a handful of offensive freaking tackles. This guy is manly. I like it.
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:57 AM   #7
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Old 05-03-2010, 02:58 AM   #8
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Old 05-03-2010, 04:07 AM   #9
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Hope he lasts longer than Dante in the league.
My thoughts exactly!
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:49 AM   #10
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http://www.nfl.com/combine/top-performers?tabIndex=1

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Old 05-03-2010, 08:30 AM   #11
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I don't believe it
5'8", Short arms not that suprising
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Old 05-03-2010, 09:12 AM   #12
BWillie BWillie is offline
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5'8", Short arms not that suprising
Contrary to popular belief, being short or tall has little to do w/ how much one can bench press. If you look at powerlifting competitions and some of the data compiled, you will find there is not a strong correlation to height at all.
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Old 05-03-2010, 09:52 AM   #13
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I'm really not concerned with McCluster's size. He'll be utilized mainly in open space situations. Most hits he'll endure will be open field collisions where he'll just bounce back up, not the pile ups where one defender stands you up and another takes a running whack at you.

If he was going to run through the tackles, then it'd be an issue. Punt returns, slot reciever duties, etc? Not so much IMO.
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:02 AM
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:11 AM   #14
Sure-Oz Sure-Oz is offline
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I bet he's just a slot reciever with the occasional carry or a few. I wouldn't use him on returns unless you had to for a game. I don't want the kid to be overused.
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Old 05-03-2010, 10:14 AM   #15
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I'm sure he will just be a wide-out and do some occasional trick plays and wildcat stuff.
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