Steelers CB Ike Taylor Thinks He Knows How New RB/WR Dri Archer Will Be Used

When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted running back Chris Rainey in the fifth-round of the 2012 NFL Draft, many envisioned then-new offensive coordinator Todd Haley using the Florida product much in the same way that he used Dexter McCluster as a rookie in Kansas City in 2010. That didn’t work out so well as Rainey only touched the football 40 times during his rookie season for a total of 162 yards.

Now, Haley has himself another toy in undersized running back/wide receiver Dri Archer, who the Steelers selected this past Friday in the third-round of the 2014 NFL Draft and once again the speculation is that the Kent State product will be given a McCluster-like role right out of the chute. Even veteran Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor sees that happening as well.

“If you want to know how coach Todd Haley is going to use him (Archer), just go back to when he was the head coach in Kansas City,” said Taylor on the Tuesday edition of The Ike Taylor Show. “It’s not hard to figure out if people can just sit back.”

Most of us have sat back when it comes Archer and while it’s easy to see Haley using him in a McCluster-type role in 2014, you have to wonder if he’ll be able to give him the same amount of snaps that he gave McCluster in 2010.

As a rookie, McCluster, who the Chiefs drafted in the second-round of the 2010 NFL Draft, played an amazing 411 total regular-season snaps on offense. That wound up being 36.5% of all offensive regular-season snaps the Chiefs had in 2010 and it likely would of have been much higher had McCluster not missed five games with an ankle injury.

Even though McCluster was given so much playing time as a rookie, he still ended the 2010 season with only 39 touches for 280 yards and one touchdown. That’s only one touch for every 10.5 snaps. See the problem?

Here is something else you might want to know about McCluster’s usage by Haley in 2010. Of the 387 non-penalty plays that he was on the field for, 112 of them included two tight ends on the field and another 72 included either two other running backs or one running back and one fullback in addition to McCluster. Let me make that a bit clearer. Of the 387 non-penalty plays that McCluster was on the field for in 2010, 157 of those included only one other wide receiver on the field.

Want another juicy stat concerning McCluster’s usage by Haley in 2010? The Chiefs passed 55.8% of the time when McCluster was on the field as opposed to 43% of the time when he was off of the field. Also, when two other wide receivers were on the field with McCluster in 2010, the Chiefs passed 66.7% of the time. I’ll let you chew on those stats in the comments below.

Sure, Taylor is likely right that Archer will be used by Haley much in the same way that McCluster was used in 2010, but do any of you see him getting the same kind of playing time? If he sees more than 150 regular-season snaps on offense, I will be shocked. If he sees the same percentage of snaps that McCluster did in 2010, then that means he will cut considerably into the playing time of wide receivers Markus Wheaton and Lance Moore.


    I personally am most interested in seeing how Ben and Haley can exploit defenses while running the no huddle with Archer on the field. Go Steelers!

  • Sonny-James

    I’m not real big on this pick when it comes to his usage in the offense. Certainly he could be a weapon on kick returns. But, as always, I’m taking a wait-and-see approach. The Steelers are good at getting the most out of their players.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I agree that this is how the FO sees the player being used. It is the McCluster/Sproles type role. I get that.

    Personally I don’t get 2 things:

    1. Why is it so important to have that role? I understand we want offensive weapons, but I truly believe that draft goes from a B+ to an A if we just swap him to a CB.

    2. Why did we not make D, you know the thing that won Seattle a Super Bowl and got Carolina to 12-4 (they averaged less points per game than we did) and to the playoffs, more of a priority?

  • steeltown

    150 snaps sounds about right, especially in his rookie season and of course kick return duties

  • Steelers12328882

    I’d love to see a formation with AB, Wheaton, Heath, Bell and Archer in it.

  • steeltown

    I think Defense was easily the biggest offseason priority. The majority of the draft picks went to the defense, including the 1st and 2nd Rd selections. They biggest offseason acquisition was FS Mitchell in addition to retaining Worilds..and other than bringing in L.Moore the other two bigger acquisitions would probably be Arthur Moats and C.Thomas.

    Obviously we all thought and would have liked for them to draft a 2nd CB, but that doesn’t mean the focus on D wasn’t there.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Food for thought for everyone down on Archer @ 3.33 (97 overall):

    Jalen Saunders WR Oklahoma 5’9″ 165lbs picked @ 4.4 (104 overall).

    Very similar player only a few picks later.

  • Doug Sawyer

    how about a triple set with Brown Archer and Bryant?…dear God that sounds scary

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I was talking only in the draft. It typically takes our CBs a couple of years to get on the field…guess what, Ike probably is in his last year….that worries me.

  • William Weaver

    I hope he is so potent he claims 3-4 carries a game and most of the 3rd wide out duty. He is going to have to beat out lance Moore. Who don’t think he atleast has a shot at doing that? Him and bell both in the backfield creating mismatches as they go out in flat or curl in the middle? With him running into flat on AB’s side and Marcus stretching the field down the other side, miller is wide open down the middle? Or Dri comes back from the flat on a crossing route at sub 4.2 speed? Who covers that if they are in man to man?

  • James Kling

    Also similar to Jerrick McKinnon and John Brown, taken just before Archer. Seemed to be a run on small/fast multi-position guys mid-R3 to early R4.

  • Zach

    yep, that worries me too…they must be expecting 2 more years of Ike, otherwise I cannot see who would be our starters next year. Even bringing a veteran FA wouldn’t help.

  • Ken

    I think he was drafted to return kicks. To say a 3 round draft pick isn’t worth that I would disagree. I think his ability will dictate how else he gets on the field, but I don’t think the Steelers are scratching their heads trying to figure out what weird plays they can use to get him the ball in open field. That has never worked. Everyone is good in the open field.

  • barry buchanan

    Passed on Watkins cb Florida when we picked Archer! Be interesting to see how they end up!

  • steeltown

    Why wouldn’t it help? They could in theory actually draft CB early next year and bring in a FA to go along with C.Allen, WillieG and the rest..

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Maybe the FO got tired of swapping KRs when they saw a 10+ years starter at KR? I, like everybody probably would have got somebody else at 3rd round and I think we are chewing on this more because Dri Archer was OUR first offensive pick.

    Supposely Dri Archer does score 2 or 3 touchdowns per season as a KR, would you still complain? I don’t know, haven’t seen a KR on our team this impactful to make a judgment considering, all great KRs happen to be on either bad or really bad teams with an exceptional of that KR from the Broncos in 70’s and Devin Hester. I’d be much comfortable if he was a better PR.

  • Mike

    The guy is going to require prep time by both special teams, advance scouting and the entire defense each week. The Steelers will spend :30 minutes putting in a couple plays to get him the ball and defenses are going to need to invest 4 or 5 hours of meeting and field time to prepare for it. I’ll take that any day.

  • Shea Fahr

    We went with pass rushers in the first 2 rounds. With speed and rush ability like they have, CB becomes a bit more flexible. They addressed HUGE needs in the first 2 rounds.

  • RMSteeler

    I think the Steelers really may have wanted McKinnon. When he was taken just before their 3rd pick they may have sensed a run on scat backs and went with their 2nd choice (Archer) a round earlier than they would have preferred. I believe they may have taken Bryant in the 3rd if that hadn’t happened, and were relieved when Bryant was there in the 4th.

  • RMSteeler

    Bryant and Archer as well as AB/Wheaton are likely to open up the middle a lot in certain sets. This may give our slightly slower Heath more separation in the middle. It will be interesting to see how they experiment with certain sets in the pre season games. Would like to see certain rookies playing with the 1’s occasionally in the PS to see how they perform.

  • cencalsteeler

    I’m a huge Tomlin fan, but part of me misses the old trick plays by Cowher. Now that Archer is part of the offense, the element of surprise is back with the Steelers. That, coupled with the amount of additional plays to add to the playbook should make it fun for us to watch, but, cause nightmares for opposing coordinators.

  • cencalsteeler

    Excellent post. Just the mere fact of putting him out there on the field as a decoy will create more opportunities for others as well. I imagine a lot of confusion and defensive signal callers putting on their best Peyton Manning impressions playing this offense.

  • Kimo Brah

    I was skeptical until I watched a bunch of video on the guy. His speed is amazing but what makes him really exciting is his elusiveness and ability to make big plays. I hope he has the same success in the NFL with the bigger faster defenders.

  • Mike

    Not to mention, to borrow from Bobby Bowden’s philosophy: how to you practice to prepare for a guy, when you don’t have anybody that fast on your roster or practice squad? First meeting will be shocking.

  • Ted Reiter

    There are so many under-the-radar advantages that this pick gives us. There has been talk about scoring TD’s on special teams and that is a plus. But, what about field position? With sound defense (which i hope we get back to) Field position is extremely important. Gotta love short fields. I have little doubt that he will be able to return punts as well. That also frees up AB for his #1 WR duties without a drop off in production.

    Another thing to chew on is this… The NFL is going with larger (somewhat slower) corners. Ask any sizable corner what he hates and it will almost always be.. speed, and quickness. Richard Sherman ran a 4.57 at the combine. There is no way he nor a Joe Hayden (also slow 40) could line up over a Dri Archer without some concern. If you put him in the slot, you got a #3 corner on him and a safety or linebacker has to come out because it is too big of a mismatch. Hence, opening holes to run through for Bell. McCluster didn’t cause these miss-matches when Haley was running the show there because McCluster ran a 4.5. Dri immediately keeps a safety deep to his side of the field. Think Joey Galloway early in his career. He had defenses scared shitless.

  • Rod Hedrick

    When we won the last super bowels our corners were our shakiest position. They didn’t have to be great because they were crushing quarterbacks.

  • steelster

    He won’t be scary to defenses until he produces. I may be wrong but doesn’t archer catch the ball with his body. He seems to have average hands at best. DHB is fast but doesn’t scare defenses because of his drops.

  • blue

    Fastest guy in the draft period

    Way to get our man, screw projections.

  • As fast as the defenders are at the nfl level, he still blows the doors off them. There aren’t many guys with his speed on the planet let alone the nfl…

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I think a UFA brought in could help and honestly I have no idea what is out there in that area.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    You still need a guy who can eliminate one WR if at all possible. Ike did that for a long time for us.

  • SfSteeler

    with a fake end around to Archer and a cherry boom over the top to Bryant baby!

  • treeher

    With the change in kick off yardage, the opportunities will be much fewer than in past years. We will see him take a ton of touchbacks.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Here is my take…

    It is still difficult to justify taking a luxury speed weapon over a potential every down CB (like J. Watkins, P. Desir, R. Cockrell, W. Aikens). Especially when we didn’t select a CB in either the 1st or 2nd rounds. If i was GM i personally would’ve selected the top rated CB and then double dipped in round 5.

    The only way this pick makes sense is quality over quantity. For example, if Archer scores a splash play TD, it can actually be the difference in WINNING THE GAME. It doesn’t matter if he has 3 snaps or 20 snaps. If he makes a splash play it can result in points. And points win games. The Steelers are gambling that his quality of snaps outweighs his quantity of snaps. Big gamble IMO for a 3rd rounder.

    The other thing is, Archer’s mere presence on the field causes defenses to adjust. They must account for his speed. Which should open things up for his teammates. He may have a greater effect than his stats indicate?

  • James Kling

    Totally agree. IMO they were targeting McKinnon in R4, and got twitchy in R3. That said, I like Archer as a prospect, if not a per-round value. If they wanted Bryant-Archer but got Archer-Bryant, no big deal.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Well said. I agree completely. Especially his effect the n defenses just by being on the field.

  • Weiss Chad

    According to Saxon they had archer slotted there and he was no consolation prize.They wanted him all along .

  • Weiss Chad

    He would have been gone by 4.15

  • RMSteeler

    They certainly wasted no time turning in the pick. It was turned in as quickly as any I remember seeing. I think in a perfect draft, a lot of teams would have preferred the smaller, faster backs made it to round 5. It only takes the first team to make a move to trigger a run and McKinnon seemed to be the one.

  • RMSteeler

    And Moore in the slot should get more YAC with those combos too. No huddles with those combos will be fun to watch. Should lead to more breakdowns in defenses. Love the speed on both sides of the ball after this FA period and the Draft.

  • Zach

    I don’t see any 2015 CB free agent (C Tillman, C harris, a cromartie etc) that would come and be our #1 CB. We could get a serviceable #2 though. Unless they get a rookie who would start (that would take a top 5-10 pick assuming there’s such a CB rookie next year), I cannot see what the FO plans are for next year at CB.

  • Zach

    I dunno…I see Ike as being a very good corner but his biggest asset was having a top front 7 that brought pressure. I think Ike was never a shutdown and never a top 10 CB and that’s *alright*, we got 2 rings that way!

  • steeltown

    C.Allen having a breakout year would ease a lot of concern in Steeler Nation

  • Axe Skot

    Injuries happen, for one thing, so you never know who is going to be there healthy to carry you through. If I am assembling a team, I want to stockpile as many dynamic players as I can, period. Let the players’ performance in practice and then in games dictate the formations and play calls going forward. We don’t know what Archer can do until we get him in pads and see first hand. Who doesn’t believe in competition? If Wheaton, Bell, Blount, whoever, performs to the level that Archer has trouble getting on the field or vice versa…as Tomlin might say, that’s a good problem to have. Not a good problem if you are a defense trying to figure out what the Steelers are going to do.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I don’t really think it is fair to assume based on 2010 formations in KC. I have to think they used him in formations that were based on the rest of the teams personnel. The Steelers top players aren’t at the same positions so we should see something different.

  • vinnie12

    I for one would have rather they picked De’Anthony Thomas over Archer!
    Better natural pass catcher. Archer body catches too much. About the same speed, but way better hands!

  • Ted Reiter

    DHB didn’t have production in college. He also is a tenth of a second slower. If you watch Dri’s film, he catches fine.

  • Weiss Chad

    They could move gay to cb and put shmarko in slot.

  • Weiss Chad

    Out if all the free agents that has ever left pittsburgh ,Keenan Lewis hurts about the most.We groomed him and New Orleans is reaping the benefits.

  • 2winz

    I like the pick, I know we needed a corner but sometimes thats how it goes, browns needed a receiver and they didn’t draft 1 i dont believe. What I like about the pick, is when you think about Bell and Blount, the damage they will do during the game, Archer could do a lot of damage with his speed towards the end of games. How many players are going to be able to keep up with Archer.. now think.. how many players are going to keep up with Archer after being pounded and worn down by Bell and Blount? He could really have an impact in the return game but also on offense.