Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Profile: Dri Archer

By Jeff Hartman
Dri Archer
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers finally selected an offensive player in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, but it wasn’t a wide receiver as everyone has predicted. Instead, they added to their backfield the fastest player in the draft in the form of Kent State running back Dri Archer, a pick that left many scratching their heads in the third round. Get to know the small, yet fast addition to the Steelers’ lineup.

Height: 5-foot-8
Weight: 173 pounds

Strengths: First and foremost, Archer is flat-out fast. Some scouts had him running a 4.16 40-yard dash at this year’s combine. That was the fastest recorded time since 2006. Putting it mildly, give Archer a glimmer of light and he can go the distance.

His attributes don’t stop at his speed, though. He is an extremely versatile player who can help add dimension to a Steelers’ offense that truly lacks an explosive playmaker outside of Antonio Brown. Archer is not only listed as a RB, but also a WE. He lined up in the slot for Kent State, as well as at the wideout position. He is capable of returning kicks as well. He has great hands to accompany the speed and above-average skill in terms of yards after the catch.

Weaknesses: His overall lack of size and stature leads many to believe that his future in the NFL is not necessarily as a RB but more of a slot. Although he doesn’t shy away from physicality, bigger defenders won’t have an issue getting the smaller Archer off his feet.

Overall: Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley has been looking for a back like this since he was brought to Pittsburgh in 2012. The team drafted Chris Rainey and cut him a year after, and also tried kicking the tires on Larod Stephens-Howling, but his year was shortened due to injury.

Archer will be a player who will draw a lot of attention whenever he is on the field due to his speed and stature, but he will most likely round out the Steelers’ backfield with Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount. The Steelers may have reached a bit to draft him in the third round, but he was obviously a player the team coveted over a wide receiver, another team need.

Grade: B

Jeff Hartman covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for RantSports.com and  also contributes for the Penguins and Pirates. Follow him on  Twitter @BnGBlitz and add him on Google+.

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