When the Oakland Raiders kicked off last Sunday, a strange and unfamiliar sight stood back at the goal line for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It wasn’t Dri Archer. No, he wasn’t benched for abject failure. Dri Archer was actually released last week to make room for the new kick returner, Jacoby Jones.
Guess whatever incriminating photos he had of Mike Tomlin and/or Kevin Colbert have finally been destroyed.
Archer was a baffling pick when he was taken in the 3rd round of the 2014 draft. Despite having a ton of holes, they in essence pulled an Al Davis and took a flier on a guy who had nothing going for him but blazing speed. Teams trying to rebuild on the fly don’t waste 3rd rounders on luxury picks. They waste 5th rounders on corners who never play or 6th rounders on kickers who can’t kick but not a 3rd.
The idea was that Archer would be our Darren Sproles/Danny Woodhead – a fast little guy who can catch passes out of the backfield. Problem with that was we have a guy named Le’Veon Bell. He may not be little but he can do things Archer can’t like break tackles or make people miss. Archer became unnecessary the minute Bell emerged as a three down back which only became more apparent when he was injured last year and the team made practice squadder Josh Harris the starter.
Archer is a running back who can’t run the ball. He’s useless as a traditional runner so his only value is as a scatback. He evidently can’t do that very well, either, as when Bell was out the team barely utilized him. He’s too small to pass protect and on the rare occasions he was thrown to, his one move was to run straight ahead and get taken down with the greatest of ease.
Since Colbert/Tomlin fall in love with their picks, they refused to give up on the guy even when it was clear he brought nothing to the table. They finally resorted to using him as a kickoff returner – they evidently didn’t trust his hands and judgement enough to let him field punts – which he also failed miserably at. He spent more time at 20 yard line than the grounds crew did painting it.
The Steelers released Archer to make room for a new return man in Jacoby Jones. The sad part is Jones didn’t show much more on kickoffs last Sunday than Archer did. They did, however, allow him to also field punts which is important because the team has been dying to take Antonio Brown off punt duty (unless a big play is needed) as no need to put your superstar receiver at unnecessary risk. Irony being it was AB who had a big fumble fielding a punt last weekend against the Raiders.
Although if you want to talk irony, look no further than the Steelers acquiring Jones. Jones is a former Raven who some of you might remember being involved in a silly little play on Thanksgiving. Yes, he was the return man who was about take it all the way back when Mike Tomlin
ran interference “accidentally” got in his way. I haven’t followed his career since – he was released by the Chargers when we got him – so I’m not sure what exactly he brings to table besides ridding ourselves of a wasted draft pick. I will say this, Coach T definitely owes him a solid.