Kent State running back Dri Archer had a disappointing senior season in 2013, as an ankle injury on the team’s first offensive series of the season led to him missing most of the next three games. He scored 11 total touchdowns by season’s end (six rushing, four receiving, one kickoff return), but he had just 68 carries for 527 yards along with 25 receptions for 327 yards.
Archer landed on the radar of NFL scouts after a 2012 season where he rushed for 1,429 yards (9.0 yards per carry) and 16 touchdowns, and he also averaged 14.4 yards per catch (39 receptions for 561 yards) with four more touchdowns as a junior. For good measure, Archer had three kickoff return touchdowns that season.
Archer had an impressive performance at the NFL Combine, running a 4.26 40-yard dash and posting a 38-inch vertical jump while putting up 20 bench press reps (225 lbs.).
Has Archer re-established himself as a notable prospect ahead of next week’s draft? Let’s take a closer look at him.
Weight: 173 lbs.
- Shows excellent burst and sudden quickness; took just 18 steps to run his 40-yard dash at the Combine
- Has excellent versatility; can operate out of the slot as a pass receiver and is a capable return man
- Catches the ball with his hands; is a natural pass catcher
- Regularly ran deep routes when lined up as a wide receiver, which I did not expect to see
- Is undersized; will not be an every-down back at the next level
- Durability is a big concern after 2013
- Is not overly powerful or elusive as a runner; needs space to operate
Archer has made visits to the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so his Combine performance seems to have grabbed some attention in terms of teams wanting to get another look at him. ESPN’s Mel Kiper recently asserted that Archer could go as high as the third round, which would likely put him among the first 5-10 running backs drafted.
Archer has the skill set to perhaps make a full transition to wide receiver, and in order to have the longest career possible he may have to make the position change. It will come down to how the team that drafts Archer sees him, at least initially, but he could have a place in the NFL as a running back with the increased specialization attached to the position in recent years.