Starting up the Dri Archer hype
One big question coming out of the Pittsburgh-Minnesota preseason game Sunday night was this: Have the Steelers found yet another offensive weapon?
Running back Dri Archer showed the potential that made him a third-round pick in 2014, weaving through the Vikings’ defense at times while bringing versatility to the Steelers’ passing game. After playing only 82 snaps a year ago, including the playoffs, it was a welcome sight for Pittsburgh.
The first glimpse of Archer’s elusiveness came at the 5:33 mark of the first quarter. A simple 1-yard gain in the gamebook, he evaded an unblocked defensive tackle in the backfield to save the 4-yard loss before beating cornerback Jabari Price to the edge for his hard-earned yard. After a 5-yard penalty moved the Steelers back, he took a 3rd-and-14 draw play and danced through the Vikings’ defense to pick up the first down.
The other added dimension to Archer’s game is his ability to line up all over the formation as a receiver, something he did four times in last night’s game (two out wide, two in the slot). He ran the short “in” route for a first down from a wide receiver position with 11:27 to go in the fourth quarter and came back later to run an out route out of the backfield and made a guy miss to pick up another first down.
It wasn’t all great for Archer, as he did muff a punt at the end of the first half, and then he was hung out to dry trying to block defensive tackle Tom Johnson, which led to a sack. But overall it was an encouraging effort for Archer as he looks to find a niche in an already explosive Pittsburgh offense.