I have football opinions about this one.
When the Steelers drafted Dri Archer, I was excited. Here’s the fastest guy at the combine who goes in the third round, ostensibly because he is very small.
I just mean he’s short; you could grate cheese on that.
So you have a small, speedy football player, in an NFL that favors big offensive splash plays… Why on earth would you try and force him into being a running back?! You need some amount of size to run between the tackles. If you only try runs to the outside, your run game becomes one-dimensional. Archer brought nothing to the backfield.
Here’s a thought: Why not utilize this player’s unique speed by getting him the ball in open space? And not the obvious “Dri Archer motions out of the backfield and lines up behind Antonio Brown and Heath Miller on the edge” because that is telegraphing your intent to the defense. I mean line him up as a slot receiver, and teach him to actually run a few routes.
Imagine if Archer is the hot read on a blitz. He runs a quick slant where a linebacker just vacated, and oh look at that! You have a player with elite speed already crossing into the defensive secondary. Heck, they even gave him a receiver number!
But instead of, I don’t know, trying to design plays that feature this weapon you just acquired, Archer was just relegated to kickoff duty. And he wasn’t even good at it. He made poor decisions when fielding and he never broke any tackles. Some of that has to do with special teams blocking, which has never been great for the Steelers, but if you’re going to keep a player on the roster just for returning kicks, you might as well get one that has at least had success doing it.
So that’s what they did. Welcome to the team, Jacoby Jones.
No hard feelings?