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Breaking down how McCluster's been used

3/12/2014

Dexter McCluster is little (5-foot-8 and 170 pounds) and Kansas City never really got steady production out of him.

The Tennessee Titans and Ken Whisenhunt are projecting a role for him more than they are bringing in a known commodity.

Let’s look at some specifics about his 2013 season, when he had 53 catches for 511 yards and two touchdowns and eight rushes for five yards.

These are all from ESPN Stats and Info:

  • He ran 350 pass routes, was targeted 80 times and had 53 catches.

  • While he appears to be a third-down type of guy, he had more catches on second down with 23 for a 8.52 yard average. He had 15 third-down catches (8.93 yard average) and 15 catches on first down (for 12.07 yards per catch).

  • Breaking down his catches based on distance needed for a first down, the Chiefs threw to him most when they needed between six and 10 yards (31). He had 11 catches when the offense needed two to five yards.

  • How he lined up: 11 times in the backfield, once at tight end, 30 times in the slot (15 times on each side) and 23 times out wide. He was most productive out of the slot on the right, with 26 catches for 247 yards and both of his touchdowns.

  • He also averaged 11.8 yards on 58 punt returns, breaking off two touchdowns, including a 89 yarder. He only returned one kickoff.

  • Expanding to his whole four years, he has carried the ball 152 times for 662 yards, a respectable 4.4 yard average. He had 114 carries in 2011 and a 4.5 yard average.

I’m anxious to hear from Ken Whisenhunt about how the Titans will use McCluster.

I expect he will be one of those pocket knives that can be used for multiple functions. Sometime in the slot, sometimes in the backfield, most often running routes, sometimes getting carries and returning punts at least some of the time.

Kendall Wright is the team’s best offensive player, and he caught 63 of his 94 passes running routes out of the slot. If the Titans go four-wide, they’ve got two slot receivers, but what’s McCluster’s role in three-wide or two-tight?

There is a lot of mystery at this point, and it comes with a lot of intrigue.

McCluster got a three-year, $12 million contract with $4.5 million guaranteed.

That average of $4 million a year is pretty hefty based on his résumé.