LA Chargers News

Chargers sign Dexter McCluster in aftermath of Woodhead injury

Aug 13, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Dexter McCluster (22) is tackled by San Diego Chargers linebacker Chris Landrum (46) during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 13, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Dexter McCluster (22) is tackled by San Diego Chargers linebacker Chris Landrum (46) during the first half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
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The San Diego Chargers lost Danny Woodhead to a torn ACL on Sunday. Fortunately, a similar type of player was available on the market.

According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Chargers signed RB/WR Dexter McCluster.

To help replace Danny Woodhead, Chargers plan to sign former Titans and Chiefs RB Dexter McCluster, per source. https://t.co/zihxSgd4zt

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 20, 2016

Nobody can replace Woodhead’s production (led the Chargers in receiving yards and receptions last season), but don’t sleep on McCluster. McCluster, who was released by the Tennessee Titans in September, was considered a surprise cut. He finished 2015 with 247 rushing yards, 260 receiving yards and two total touchdowns (this excludes his 502 total return yards), but he wasn’t the best fit and was underutilized in head Mike Mularkey’s power-run scheme.

The 28-year-old has quickness to go along with shifty moves. Like Woodhead, McCluster stands at 5-foot-8. Unlike Woodhead (200 pounds), McCluster weighs in at 170 pounds. Even though he is light, he’s tougher than he looks.

What is more intriguing is the familiarity that comes with this signing. McCluster was one of Tennessee’s free-agent signings (2014) when Ken Whisenhunt was the team’s head coach. Prior to that, McCluster spent four years in Kansas City.

Look for McCluster to be used in both the backfield and in the slot. He’s not essentially an upgrade over Woodhead, but he should be considered a great fit in Whisenhunt’s offense, which makes this a smart pickup. McCluster even adds value as a kick returner.

McCluster has skills, but there is one question: Can McCluster pass block? To be honest, I haven’t heard much about his pass-blocking skills, but if he wants to earn snaps on offense, he’s going to need to develop that part of his game. Again, he’s a light guy, so that could be a concern.

It’s tough losing Woodhead, but with the way 2015 first-round pick Melvin Gordon has been running the football, the Chargers could lean on him throughout the year. Having a dynamic player like McCluster only helps.

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