Last year the Kansas City Chiefs drafted WR Dexter McCluster and he caused quite a bit of excitement around the fan base because his small and quick style was, well, exciting. He was a lot of fun to watch (and even more fun to control in Madden '11).
He scored touchdowns in two of his first three games with the Chiefs, both stretched the field and had the fans on their feet. But then he got hurt and missed five weeks, and didn't make much of an impact after that. It was like the Chiefs had this shiny toy and didn't know how to use him.
He made the move to running back this year and in the preseason he has been one of the Chiefs top players.
McCluster at running back reminds me a little bit of Bills RB C.J. Spiller. McCluster is four inches smaller and 20-some-odd pounds lighter but they seem to have similar styles. So keeping that similarity in mind, I asked Buffalo Rumblings to tell us a little more about Spiller and how the Bills use him.
Spiller will line up as a traditional running back and take carries. He'll line up as a receiver; when he does this, it's mostly out of the slot. He remains a poor pass protector, so they don't keep him in the backfield in that capacity very often. They use him much the same way they use Fred Jackson, which makes them all the more difficult to defend when both players are on the field. There's a good chance he'll be the primary kick returner, as well.
That's pretty much the same roles McCluster has. I'm going to be keeping an eye on Spiller today because it'll be interesting if the Chiefs can take any cues from them on how to use a shifty running back like McCluster.