Steelers Dri Archer will line up in multiple positions, creating conflict on opposing defenses

Joe Sargent

In one of the more intriguing strategic subplots to the 2014 season, Steelers rookie third round pick Dri Archer says he'll be lining up in a variety of spots, including fullback and H-back.

Tribune Review reporter Alan Robinson reported a potential crime from Steelers third round draft pick Dri Archer.

Writes Robinson in a feature posted Saturday:  "Kent State calculated that when Archer is going full speed with the ball in his hands, he travels at 19.4 miles per hour — too fast for a school zone."

Fines double in school zone, Dri. But salaries in the NFL can double because of that kind of speed.

The question is, how will the Steelers use that speed?

"Playing in the backfield, playing some slot, playing some H-back, playing some fullback and helping the special teams," Archer told Robinson at the Steelers' rookie minicamp Friday.

So everywhere, basically.

The notion of the 173-pound Archer lining up ahead of Le'Veon Bell in a power-I formation is comical and seemingly more fit for an experimental formation in Madden 2014, but the idea is more using him to divide and pressure defenses. Typically, a larger linebacker is going to have responsibility for the fullback, when one is on the field. Same would go for an H-back. The presence of a player fitting approximately none of the stereotypical traits of an NFL fullback will force opposing defenses into conflict.

These kinds of things are paramount to the team's continued offensive success, whether Archer gets the ball or not. Simply stated, opposing defenses will have to either dedicate one of their fast players to covering Archer, or they'll have to show a straight zone defense. Whichever path they choose, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will see that in his presnap read, and can choose whichever play will put the most conflict on the defense.

Call Archer a decoy, but it's more like the Steelers' version of an option offense. Putting Archer on the field in a no-huddle situation could create significant mismatch advantages when facing teams with shallow defensive personnel to handle that kind of speed.

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