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

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

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?



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  • OVP66223

    He is also strong so the lack of size is slightly mitigated (20 reps of 225 is LB territory)

  • BLDun

    To me it doesn’t matter what he brings to the table at this point. He doesn’t fill a pressing need the Steelers obviously have on offense and are still in need of help in defensive secondary!

  • Carl Eagan

    For this front office and head coach 1 out of 3 ain’t bad. Shazier needs to stay on the sidelines as he was an extremely poor choice. Yes he’s fast but he couldn’t shed blocks playing against linemen who won’t even make it in the arena league. Most of his tackles came from behind because he couldn’t stop them when they were in front of him. All the pressure he applied came from the outside so putting him inside negates what little he has. Tuitt will be good after he learns. Archer was a waste in the third round his speed is enough for special teams but in the NFL he won’t be playing against construction workers and community organizers like he was in the mack. He would have been available later in the draft. Another deep draft in talent and another miss by this FO and head coach hope they get all the sleeper’s in the lower rounds otherwise with Tomlin strutting the sidelines it will be 7-9 this year.

  • bk

    It’s pretty sad really.. why not take a shot at M. Bryant there and at least get some size… there are 3-4 guys just like Dri Archer that could be had later… Desir? Watkins? a couple CB’s worth a look… Hell, even that huge OT from tenn… All I see so far are 3 non starters who will help special teams… Denver drafted 15 picks after us and I would trade with them right now

    • Bill Kniess

      they got him in the 4th round


    Taking a guy in round three who will barely see the field more than 5 times per game is really sad. Worst of all, his best skill (kick returning) is basically worthless in the unfriendly-towards-kickoffs NFL, he lacks experience as a punt returner, his speed will be neutralized by bogg-ish Heinz Field turf in the winter, and ball security issues are a big problem for him as well.

    I’m just glad they managed to get Bryant in round four. Still a shame they didn’t address CB or even TE in round three though.