Pittsburgh Steelers Select RB Dri Archer In Round 3: Reaction & Analysis


Sept 8, 2012; Lexington, KY, USA; Kent State Golden Flashes running back Dri Archer (1) runs for a touchdown against Kentucky Wildcats cornerback JD Harmon (15) at Commonwealth Stadium. Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers made their first offensive selection of the 2014 NFL Draft with the 97th overall pick. They did not draft a wide receiver however, something they need.  They instead went with running back Dri Archer from Kent State.  Archer is small but very fast.  He stands at only 5-feet-8-inches but at the combine he ran a 4.26 seconds 40-yard dash, the fastest time recorded this year.  Based on this pick and the Ryan Shazier pick yesterday it’s starting to become clear that GM Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin want fast players.  They have gotten two fast guys now, but they have not addressed the two biggest needs.

I’m assuming the Steelers drafted a running back thinking that they need a speedster to go along with Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrett Blount.  Archer would fill the role of a third down running back that has good hands and could be used in the slot. It’s also very possible that he will be used on kick and punt returns due to his remarkable speed.  Archer compares very well to the Chiefs Dexter McCluster, who Todd Haley drafted while he was in Kansas City.  The obvious question about Archer is his size.  At only 173 pounds he will get brought down easily by big NFL athletes… although he might be fast enough to avoid get touched.

The positives about Archer in the future for the Steelers is obviously his speed.  He could be a game changer but how many touches will he actually get?  If they use him on third downs and kick returns, his touches will be limited.  I’m guessing the Steelers will utilize him similarly to how they used Chris Rainey in 2012.  He was a speedy running back from Florida.  In his rookie season he had 83 combined touches, most coming from kick returns.  Rainey got cut after his rookie season after some legal issues.  But when he was on the Steelers he did add an element of surprise when he stepped onto the field.  If Archer can bring the same type of presence he could be valuable decoy if nothing else.

In my opinion the right pick for the Steelers should have been a wide receiver, probably Bruce Ellington from the University of South Carolina.  He’s only 5’9″ but he was arguably the best remaining wideout after Donte Moncrief and John Brown were selected 90th and 91st.  We are now through three rounds of the draft and the Steelers are yet to address the wide receiver position.  Is Darius Heyward-Bey really going to be part of the plan this year?!? That sounds like a joke but right now it’s kind of scary.  Big Ben can’t be too happy with the talent he is going to be throwing to.

Steelers Nation, what do you think about the Dri Archer selection?