Dri Archer RB/WR Kent State #1
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Size/Athleticism: Vastly undersized. Lacks the bulk to project as an every-down player. Athleticism is off the charts. Has the type of speed and agility that scares defenses, as he can take it the distance on any play. Has some experience returning kicks and will almost certainly be asked to resume those duties in the NFL.
Vision: Vision between the tackles is decent, but he tends to take everything outside. Also has a tendency to push himself to full speed immediately, rather than remaining patient and letting things develop in front of him. Offense was designed to allow him to run outside, so it didn’t require a ton of adjustments other than to simply dodge the tacklers in front of him.
Power: He’ll break an occasional weak tackle attempt from a defensive back, because he’s short enough to generate some leverage, but he goes down on contact between the tackles. Ball security is a major issue. Partially may be attributed to his small hands, but he also has terrible technique. Tends to hold the ball away from his body and rarely protects it unless he’s running between the tackles.
Speed/Agility: Pure speed ranks among the game’s elite. Explosion is off the charts. He seemingly gets up to full speed the second he turns on the jets, but then has a second gear to leave defenders in his dust once he reaches the open field. Start and stop ability is special. You simply can’t contain him one on one in the open field.
Passing Game: Lined up as a receiver occasionally, more so during 2013 under new coaching staff. Small hands, but generally reliable on the short stuff when he’s open. Hands are more shaky down the field or when attempting to match a catch on the move. Uses his body too often and had some bad drops. Ideal weapon to use on screens. Offers almost no help in pass protection. Routes as a receiver are poor. Rounds off all his cuts. But his elite agility gives him tons of potential to develop in this area. Used a deep threat occasionally but can’t make contested catches—as long as there’s a safety over the top to contain him, he isn’t much of a threat because he won’t come down with the ball in traffic. As a deep threat, he’s more valuable as a decoy, because the safety has to be aware or else he will run away from the cornerback in man coverage.
Intangibles: Academically ineligible in 2011.
Durability: Suffered an ankle injury in 2012 and was slowed by the injury again for most of the 2013 season. Suffered a knee injury in 2012 bowl game. Lack of size and history of injuries raises a huge red flag in terms of his long term durability.
Comments: Archer is a man without a position, because he’s too small to strictly play running back or receiver. But he has the rare talent to potentially to play a Dexter McCluster/Eric Metcalf role in the NFL. He’ll never be a guy who touches the ball 20 times per game, but can play a significant role in an offense because the defense always needs to be aware of his presence on the field. If healthy, his playmaking ability would legitimately put him in the conversation as a top 50 prospect, but because he was slowed by an ankle injury throughout the 2013 season it would be tough to justify such a high pick on a guy who will never be an every-down player. How he checks out medically at the combine and during pre-draft visits will play a significant role in his draft stock.