When the Pittsburgh Steelers took Dri Archer from Kent State in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft, they thought they were getting more than just the fastest 40-yard dash time at the combine, but a playmaker anytime he has the football in his hands.
Archer's rookie season left a lot to be desired, as he rushed the ball 10 times for 40 yards, and had seven catches for 23 yards. The most disappointing aspect of Archer's game might have been in the kickoff return game. Before Markus Wheaton took over the kick-return duties, Archer was averaging a bleak 17.9 yards a return, even though he was a return specialist at Kent State.
The rookie season is over, and now Archer looks to the offseason to improve and evolve into the playmaker the Steelers thought they drafted in the 3rd round.
"I am going to work this offseason and get ready for next year to do the most I can," Archer told Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. "I want to help the team out the best way possible and in as many ways as I can."
How much he helps will largely depend on his ability to adapt to the NFL, where every player is capable of making plays."It's a lot faster game," said Archer. "Everyone knows what they are doing, everyone knows their job and how to do it and they do it at full speed.
"As we grow, the speed of the game always changes, from Pop Warner to little league to high school," Archer said. "It always evolves to the next level."
Archer's evolution like will begin with the special teams return units, and could transition into a more dynamic role in the team's offense. His legendary speed, with which he wowed the NFL combine last year with a 4.28-second 40-yard dash, is a weapon not many offensive coordinator's have at their disposal. With a year under Archer's belt, Todd Haley will have to work on ways to get Archer in situations to help the team move the ball and make splash plays.
Although many were down on Archer's progression and development in 2014, the Steelers will be looking for more from Archer as the team begins preparations for the 2015 season.