Steelers Film Room: Dri Archer provides multi-dimensional options

Kirk Irwin

The Steelers, once again, go with speed in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft. We've seen this movie before, but will this ending be any different?

We all know at this point that Dri Archer can run.

We also know that Todd Haley and Mike Tomlin have been looking for their own version of Dexter McCluster ever since Haley arrived from Kansas City.

First, the bad.  Archer is very small. Thus, two things are an immediate worry: ball security and durability. Do we trust this kid in the 4th quarter with the ball? Secondly, we've tried this twice with undesirable results. What again is the definition of insanity?

Now, the good. These type of guys, the aforementioned McCluster and Darren Sproles, scare the death out of defensive coordinators. With this type of speed and quickness, small mistakes get magnified and end up as big gains and touchdowns. And, their versatility (they can line up all over the place) makes the offense difficult to defend. Now, we can (and I'm sure many will) criticize the pick, but these assertions are not in dispute. As with anything in the draft, it comes down to personnel. If Archer turns out to be Chris Rainey, heads should roll. If he turns out to be McCluster, then this is a great pick.

On this play, Archer shows good route running ability. He is able to snap his route off, avoid the jam, and keep his route skinny enough to avoid the safety.

As I mentioned, the ability to line up in the backfield is a plus. This makes him much more difficult to defend. Moreover, this makes the no huddle more unpredictable. Will the steelers line up in one back, two backs, or empty? What personnel (base, nickel, or dime) should the defense put on the field?

Finally, this last play shows that Archer is not just a straight speed guy, he has the quickness to go with it. That gives him the ability to make guys miss in space. His quickness is right in line with his speed.

Give Tomlin and company credit for one thing. They have the courage of their convictions. This pick will be met with criticism because of perceived other needs, and the lack of success that the Steelers have had filling this position in the past.  But, Tomlin doesn't care. He is in the arena, face marred with dust, sweat and blood. And obviously, he enjoys it.

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