First of all, to those of you who haven't been here since 2011, you probably haven't met me before. I'm Josh, I used to write a lot on this site, mainly focusing on draft evaluation and endless mock drafts. I was also known as the only English guy here, hence the old nickname English. To anyone who's been around for the long cold winter without me, don't worry, your saviour has returned. (As I have nowhere else to write this, sorry for the shoddy editing in this, it's been a while and SBNation sure has changed a lot since I last posted regularly).
Anyway, now I've got the boring introductions or whatever out of the way, let's get to football.
Dri Archer brings the Steelers something that they have not had in many years, a speed back that has hands. Of course we all remember the days of 39 being in the game and us knowing that is was going to be a run. He did however have blazing speed. We all remember the days of Mwelde Moore too, when although the perfect 3rd down back in almost any way, he could pass block, he could catch, he could run, he had no speed for the breakaway play.
Clearly this addition of the X Factor of speed to the Steelers offense, alongside the shifty Brown and the power of Blount and Bell, gives the Steelers every facet an offense could want (aside from a giant wideout, but they're hardly everywhere.)
Now, onto some actual evaluation of Dri Archer.
Dri Archer was a polarizing figure from the second he stopped sprinting during his 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine, a time of 4.26 (4.16 by hand) is the second fastest recorded time of all time, second only to Chris Johnson of the Titans. Now, what most people don't know about Archer is that he's always been incredible fast, in high school he ran a 10.49 second 100m time, finished second only to the world class sprinter, Dentarius Locke (who by the way, beat Nickel Ashmeade in 2013 and was 2nd to Justin Gatlin by 0.02 seconds.). Not only was he fast in high school, his combine 40 time was not only remarkable for the time, but also he completed his 40 in the fewest number of steps ever, tied with one Calvin Johnson, now bear in mind that Archer gives up a ridiculous 9 inches of height. That speed is unbelievable. I know most of you already know how fast he is, but his speed needs to be talked about.
Now the important question is, does Archer have football speed, the correct answer is actually still unknown because of the division that Archer played in, we simply don't know how he'll look against real NFL talent, but it's safe to say that at Kent State, he showed he was too fast for the competition.
Dri Archer Kent State Highlights ᴴᴰ "Can't Be Touched" (via Harris Highlights)
Now, aside from his speed, let's start with the good for Archer. You can see all of this in the highlights video posted above. He possesses incredible lateral quickness as well as straight line speed, his jump cuts and moves are great and he can surely make defenders miss at the NFL level. He has very good vision for the position and is able to pick his hole and rush through it with his blazing speed. He also has surprising strength for such a small player, he benched 225 20 times at the combine, a great number for a man his size. Alongside this strength he's also a willing runner between the tackles and isn't afraid to put his nose into the pile. Obviously his ability as a wideout is fairly unknown but he lined up as a WR in college and performed well there. His hands are good enough to improve and he is willing to block also. Add to that his KR ability and it's easy to see why the Steelers are excited about Archer as a utility player on offense, and I'm sure Haley can do something special with him and put him in positions to make plays.
Now, onto the bad, the major issue for the young RB is his ball security, which was a problem in college and will likely not improve with harder hits and better defenders in the NFL. Despite his willingness to block, Archer is simply too small at times to get by with anything but supreme pass blocking technique and he's easily mauled by powerful defenders. If Ben is smart he should be able to get the ball away while Archer at least slows down the oncoming defenders, failing that, Ben is on his own. His size is an issue for several reasons, firstly his body may not handle a large role in an NFL offense and injuries could be an issue, alongside this, he lacks any catch radius and does not make catches away from his body comfortably and his small hands and lack of experience really make me question how good he will be as a WR (hence why I talked more about his running ability in this post.) The last issue I can really see with him is that he tries to do too much at times, with short gains turning into losses due to him trying to make a play where it just won't happen. Hopefully this can be taught at the next level.
My final word on Archer is that he's an incredibly intriguing player, who it would be farcical to project as anything because, despite the obvious potential he has, he simply may just not be enough for an NFL player. I, along with the rest of you will hopefully know within 15 seconds of the season opener what we have with Archer with him running the first play of our season back for a TD.
Welcome to the organisation Dri, I for one hope you can stay around for a while.
I'll leave you with his game tape against Rutgers, not highlights, just game tape, so you see both the good and the bad.
Dri Archer vs Rutgers (2012) (via Josh DB)
And as a final note, for those of you who weren't fortunate enough to be around for Redman fever, I leave you with the consensus greatest poast ever poasted to BTSC.
(Also, to Michael, or whoever it is that's running the place right now, I still seem to be an Admin, don't know if that's cool, but whatever, take my mod powers away if you want. I got scared when I logged in and saw I could delete anything here.)