Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
Perhaps no player in recent memory has switched positions more than Dexter McCluster, from running back to wide receiver to running back and back to wide receiver.
On Friday night, McCluster showed just how much progress he’s been able to make as a receiver. McCluster got open several times, and Cassel delivered the ball to him for an easy 45 yards on three receptions.
With all the talk about Dwayne Bowe’s holdout, Jonathan Baldwin’s development and Jamaal Charles' and Tony Moeaki’s return, few have recognized McCluster.
McCluster’s workload expanded when Charles was injured, but the Chiefs clearly didn’t want to lose his production when Charles returned. It’s always a bad idea to have a good player sitting behind a better player, so the Chiefs did the best possible thing and moved McCluster back to receiver despite an impressive 4.5 yards per carry as a running back last season.
McCluster is also not the biggest guy, and the Chiefs needed a bruiser to pair with Charles more than they needed a shifty slasher. Peyton Hillis was the perfect match and solidified McCluster’s move back to receiver, and the emergence of the other young running backs should eliminate the need for another position change.
It helps that McCluster was able to double his reception total despite playing running back last season. If the first preseason game is any indication, he’ll be able to get open underneath and it will not be easy for a safety or linebacker to cover him.
The classic rule is that a receiver will break out in year three, and that might even apply to McCluster who has changed positions twice. With defenses focusing on Charles and the other receivers, McCluster has a golden opportunity to carve out a niche for himself on offense. For a player who is learning how to consistently beat single coverage, he could be in line for a big year.