Steelers rookie running back/wide receiver told SB Nation's Dan Rubenstein he's "well aware" of the physical nature of the AFC North. That had to be among his first few thoughts when the Steelers selected the Kent State product with the 97th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
It's a division that's ramped up in terms of run defense this past year. The Bengals will get back All Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins, Baltimore and Pittsburgh both selected inside linebackers (Ryan Shazier and C.J. Mosley) with their first round picks and Cleveland brought in a defensive-minded coach who used to run dominant run defenses with the Jets.
Archer can run, and maybe that will help him hide.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said recently he's not going to be used in a one-dimensional way. If he's on the field, there will be times he'll run between the tackles - something thought to be an issue with the 173-pound Archer. He'll see the best run defense this division has to offer, and maybe he'll live up to what he told Rubenstein is his best attribute on the Steelers - big playmaking ability.
The advantage Archer will have in that regard is an experienced and athletic offensive line. Center Maurkice Pouncey is 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, making it easier for Archer to hide behind him - making Pouncey something of a human cloaking device. It's a tactic much of the AFC North already employs. Baltimore's Ray Rice is 5-foot-8, right around the same size as Cincinnati's Giovani Bernard.
Archer will be used all over the field, and while he still will run between the tackles one way or another, he will be given the opportunity to break plays from a variety of different formations.
More of the question will be whether teams can hit him, not so much how hard they'll hit him.