One Big, One Small For The Steelers On Day Two Of The 2014 NFL Draft

One big, one small. That about sums up the Pittsburgh Steelers second day of the 2014 NFL Draft as two more players were added to the fold.

In the second round, the Steelers went big as they filled a need on their defensive line with the selection of Notre Dame defensive tackle Stephon Tuitt. Tuitt, who reportedly measured in at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine at 6054, 304 pounds, will likely be groomed to play the right defensive end spot on the Steelers defensive line.

While the Steelers were able to draft Tuitt with the 14th overall pick in the second round, defensive line coach John Mitchell feels the team got a steal due to him playing through a hernia injury in 2013.

“If you look at his sophomore year, this guy was probably one of the best defensive linemen in college,” said Mitchell of Tuitt. “He had 11 sacks. He played the run very well. He was a dominant player. Before the 2013 season, he had a hernia injury. He wasn’t able to train. He got heavy and if you look at him from the 2013 season and you compare him to the 2012 season, you’re going to see a different guy.”

in 2012, Tuitt registered 12 sacks to go along with 13 tackles for loss. In 2013, however, those numbers dropped a little as he finished the season with 7.5 sacks and just 9 tackles for loss. Mitchell, however, suggested to look at Tuitt’s entire body of work.

“If you look at his stats for three years, you’re going to see a guy who had a lot of production.”

In the third round, the Steelers went small, as they used their compensatory pick to select diminutive Kent State running back/wide receiver Dri Archer. Archer, who measures in at 5076, 173 pounds, caught 99 passes for 1,194 yards and 12 touchdowns in 47 games played at Kent State. In addition, he averaged 7.21 yards per carry during his college career on 325 opportunities. He also returned 51 kickoffs for 1,436 yards and four touchdowns.

According to new running backs coach James Saxon, they had Archer timed in the sub 4.2 range in the 40-yard dash and the goal is to get the ball in his hands as often as possible.

“Todd Haley is going to do a great job with that and we’re all going to work together to get this guy in the right place,” said Saxon.

The Steelers still have six picks left to make with their next one scheduled to come in round four as the draft moves into its third and final day Saturday.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Very interested to see how the draft unfolds from here.

    The situation with Bryant (given all of his off-the-field concerns) is reminding me of Da’Rick Rogers last year, who was expected to go by the third round (but ended up going undrafted). Teams seem to be staying away from Bryant for a reason. Unlike Rogers, I think Bryant will be drafted by someone, but the falling doesn’t seem to be a coincidence.

    For all the Archer talk/criticism, the Steelers drafted an explosive offensive weapon. Never a bad thing. Plus, just look at this team’s backfield now. We’ve gone in just two seasons from Mendy/Dwyer/Redman (sigh) to Bell/Blount/Archer. That is a running trio I can’t wait to watch!

  • The Tuitt pick is fantastic. Hard to find fault with it at all. He’s probably a first-round talent. While it’s far from what most of us expected, the Shazier-Tuitt combo looks to be a huge upgrade for a hole-ridden D that desperately needs one.

    As for Archer, I had no idea who this guy was, and my initial faction was bafflement, especially with Bryant and Desir still available. But the pick is growing on me tonight, and if he’s used effectively he could turn out to be a Sproles-like weapon for us, including in the return game. But I think this pick can only be judged once we know what comes next, as RB wasn’t exactly a huge need. If they can grab some high-upside CB and WR talent in their next few picks, like Cockrell, then maybe this was the right way to go at the end of the third.

  • Matt Manzo

    Mendy, Dwyer, Redman who?

  • steelster

    Why would he mention cardinal rb’s? He must be on the wrong site.

  • Brendon Glad

    I asked for Tuitt in the second round 6 weeks ago, and I received. I was thrilled about that. I wanted Gaines in the 3rd but the Chiefs snagged him. I did not like the Steelers pick of Archer in the 3rd, but it’s nothing against Archer himself…more a product of my feeling that he was a “luxury pick” on a team that is notably below a level that can afford “luxury picks”. I would like (in no order) 2 CB’s, a safety, an OT, a TE, and a tall WR to fill out the draft. Names of note for me are: Desir, Cockrell, and Hampton (CB’s)…Janis at WR. I see the last 3 as guys who I’d look at from 6-7. If we want Desir we probably will need to snag him in 4th.

  • Brendon Glad

    You know what? I just watched the Archer highlight tape. I gotta admit, I typed my previous comment without watching. And I’m gonna backtrack. Very few players make the lines move so fast, when the camera tries to pan with them, that it kind of throws off your equilibrium as you watch them. I can think of 4. Woodson, Deion Sanders, Vick, and early Chris Johnson. And Archer did that to me. In a myriad of ways (as in, out-of-backfield, catching ball, doing it off of cuts, or after contact). So, I think I’m gonna buy-in…and retract my complaints, even though I had “need-based-wants”. my bad.

  • steelster

    Interesting that you mention chris jonson he holds the record with the fastest 40 time at the combine at 4.24 and I believe archer is second at 4.26. At first I thought of archer as a rb but he might make one heck of a slot receiver with that speed.

  • Brendon Glad

    I don’t put much stock in 40 numbers. Because I played football and I didn’t carry my pads/helmet/ball well. It is a huge factor. It’s why Renaldo Nehemiah looked a heck of a lot different than Rod Woodson when they were on a football field. And the combine 40 yard dash top-10 list is loaded with non-descript scrubs. But Archer, with ball in hand, in pads, looks special. So despite our glaring needs elsewhere, I’m gonna hop on board 110% and see how we use him.

  • He’s already a better route runner than Mike Wallace 🙂

  • shawn

    he does both well … i know CJ2 has a slightly faster time at the combine by 2 hundredths of a second … I’m pretty confident that Archer is much faster on the field … and i mean much faster like but a tenth of second … he truly is that fast with pads on and football in hand !

  • shawn

    yes … very well said … 40 times off field mean next to nothing … he is very very fast with pads & ball in hands .. ( not to mention incredible vision … sees like 2 moves ahead) i dont think i have ever seen anyone near that speed of Archers on the field … and that includes Deion and the rest

  • steelersfan

    it seems like speed has become our priority…I’m not going to say this is wrong but its hasn’t worked for a lot of teams (raiders)….i always used to think we were too smart to be blinded by such things. but tomlin seems to be enamored by it.

  • Rod Hedrick

    Great post, we now have a nice stable of backs, not a glue factory.

  • Weiss Chad

    They should run forties w pads on

  • shawn

    I know right .. how long have i been saying that one … ( 2 plus decades ) … makes absolutely NO SENSE to run 40s in underwear !!

  • shawn

    BIG Difference is … we Got excellent FootBall Players with Speed … Raiders would take a bagboy if he could run the 40 …. Huge Difference !

  • Weiss Chad

    I think playmakers is priority,not speed

  • Ike Evans

    yeah i agree…and if it isnt priority it needs to be