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Kent State coach sees Steelers third round pick Dri Archer as a 'bona fide running back'

The Steelers' plan for Archer is to use him as a receiver as well as a running back, but his collegiate head coach sees him as being able to do whatever the Steelers need him to do, but a primary running back.


Don't count Kent State head coach Paul Haynes as someone buying into the "Dri Archer, Slot Receiver" plan.

He appeared on TribLive Radio Friday with John Steigerwald speaking about his former player, the Steelers' third round pick who's being considered by the Steelers as a running back and a wide receiver.

"I think he's an unbelievable running back, and if I had to do it over all over again, I would have just kept him at running back, Haynes said. "When you list the things you love in a running back, and what most coaches want in a running back, you want him to have great vision, great burst, great feet, you want him to be durable and those are the things Dri Archer is, plus, once he breaks through, no one will catch him.

"I think he can do whatever they want him to do, but I think he's a bona fide running back."

Archer was given No. 34 for rookie minicamp and presumably, the preseason, suggesting the Steelers view him primarily as a running back, as opposed to a wide receiver. The Steelers expect him to catch passes as well as take handoffs, but his versatility was something Haynes emphasized in 2013.

"In 2012 he was primarily a running back, and made a ton of plays and a bunch of yards as a running back," Haynes said.  "Last year we wanted to make sure we utilized him and flex him out a little bit and also play him at running back so he learned two different spots. It shows his maturity and his football intelligence that he was able to do both of those.

"Any time he has the ball in his hands he has the chance to go the distance. We tried to find a bunch of different ways to get him the ball. Everyone we played knew once he touched the ball he had a chance to go all the way."