Commentary

Bowl risers and fallers

How players who shined or struggled in the postseason have changed their draft status

Updated: January 11, 2010, 2:35 PM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
Getty ImagesDexter McCluster is small, but he fits a recent trend in the NFL. Some now view his size as a possible advantage.

The bowls gave us a last glimpse at a number of guys that we expect to see drafted in April. Let's go through some of the performances that stood out to me, and I'll also give an early draft grade for these guys. Obviously, the all-star games and testing could shake these up.

Risers

Dexter McCluster -- Ole Miss

Talk all you want about McCluster's size -- or lack thereof -- but the 5-foot-8, 165-pound dual-threat speedster carried the ball 34 times against Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl, and also caught five passes. After not getting a lot of carries earlier in the year, McCluster proved his toughness, and versatility, with so many touches; he had 44 catches to go with the 181 rushes this year. The fact is in this day and age teams want multiple backs and varied offensive threats, so McCluster is heading to a league that can use him. He could even see action as a slot receiver. I have him with a second-round grade, though he'll need to run well to overcome all the usual questions.
Possible position: Second round


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Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst