Pittsburgh Steelers: Why to watch Dri Archer at camp

The secret weapon, the swiss army knife, the third round pick, Dri Archer.

Is he all of that and then some?

Archer was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of this year’s NFL draft. He was an intriguing pick. Listed as a running back, Archer is a small and speedy pain in the neck for defensive coordinators.

The title of running back should be used loosely. Archer’s a versatile player who could play running back, wide receiver, kick returner and special teams.

Whether the Steelers decide to line him up in the backfield or not, they’ll make good use of his abilities. He’s a perfect fit for offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Haley’s been trying to utilize screen passes and short, quick strikes in an effort to protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The problem was, the team didn’t really have “that guy,” to be used for such passes.

They’ve got him now. Archer will fit the scene just right. His quick burst and tremendous speed is perfect for quick passes that could be broken for big-time gains.


His abilities allow for him to have an opportunity to be the type of player described above, but up until now, he’s unproven. He’s a rookie and the “swiss army knife,” may need some time before he’s blazing past defenses.

That’s why he’s a player to watch at this year’s training camp. Training camp will be the first real test for all the rookies, including Archer.

Archer will be tried out in all the positions he’s capable of playing. Ultimately the best spot will be his spot, but that doesn’t mean he won’t bounce around if he’s able to handle it.

I see Archer being used as a punt return/kick return man. I also see him coming in for special packages for screens and, dare I say, gadget plays.

Small and fast has proven to be a positive commodity in today’s fast-paced NFL game. If he can be groomed into a Darren Sproles-like player, we could see a tremendous attribute in Archer.

There’s still the chance of disappointment though.

The Steelers have had small, shifty guys before. Guys like Stefan Logan(Now in the CFL), who was a burst of speed returning kicks, but ultimately didn’t pan out to be eye-opening player in the league.

Archer has the potential, and if used correctly, he could be an asset to this offense. Training camp will be the beginning of Archer’s tale, but like most things, time will tell if Archer can be a “secret weapon” in Haley’s utility belt.

  • WesternIdolatry

    People aren’t really “in the know” relating to Dri Archer. His explosiveness has never been seen on a football field before. Pittsburgh fans are going to need a seatbelt watching this guy play. In the next three years, no one will open more eyes than Dri Archer.

    • richard

      I have to disagree with your assessment, last year there was a player drafted by the name of Tavon Austin. These small speed guys live , and die by how good the o-line is. If Pittsburgh can open up some holes for him , he has a shot, if not he won’t be a Steeler for long.

  • Milliken Steeler

    If he can become a great route runner, than watch out! We wont run him out of the backfield terribly often. A carry here, a carry there or if we think they arent watching for him etc,

    If he is quick and strong enough to get separation when lined up like a receiver? That, with his incredible speed will make this offense very potent.