Dri Archer Compared To RB Jamaal Charles As He Begins Work At WR

According to Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Dri Archer began working with the wide receiver group today during the final OTA session before mandatory minicamp. Wexell also notes that Archer told him he will be attending both running back and wide receiver meetings going forward.

This, of course, coming as the he and the Steelers agree to terms on his rookie contract earlier this afternoon, leaving just Stephon Tuitt unsigned, but I digress.

The fact that Archer has begun working with the wide receivers and attending the wide receiver meetings, of course, should not be surprising. He played both positions significantly in college, and spent quite a bit of time at receiver in his senior season in particular.

The only thing that is marginally surprising, perhaps, is the timing of this introductory course. Archer missed the early portions of OTAs because he was selected to attend a mandatory rookie premiere. He also had an illness earlier that kept him from participating.

It’s likely, then, that Mike Tomlin and Todd Haley wanted to get him a taste at working with the wide receivers before minicamp begins, as they left it until the final day of OTAs before handing him over to receivers coach Richard Mann.

The idea of putting him on the edge, of course, comes from the collective desire to get the 4.2 speedster out in space. On the topic of Archer’s open field ability, Tomlin described it thusly: “if you can get him the ball in open grass, you’re cookin’ with gas”.

NFL reporter Albert Breer recently reported that Archer “has been tagged internally as a miniature Jamaal Charles, who Todd Haley coached in Kansas City”.

Charles has about three inches and 25 pounds on Archer, admittedly.

The two backs had similar 3-cone times at the Combine, though Archer did slightly better in the 20-yard shuttle. Of course, he also outran the veteran back in the 40 by about a tenth of a second.

Their broad jumps were the same, but Archer performed significantly better in the vertical. Charles did not bench at the Combine, but Archer’s 20 repetitions are more than representative for a back of his stature.

Interestingly, both players struggled with fumbles as college players. It’s not an encouraging sign, then, that Charles’ issues have continued, as he’s fumbled 19 times in his six-year career, including one in the 2011 season, when he tore his ACL in the second game.

One other interesting note is that Charles has over time become more integrated in the receiving game, reaching a new high with Andy Reid taking over in Kansas City. He recorded a career-high 70 receptions for 693 yards and seven touchdowns last season. His previous career highs were 45, 468, and three, respectively.

Archer, of course, will never receive the requisite touches necessary to attempt to replicate the production of Jamaal Charles.

But if he can produce a representative facsimile of the Pro Bowler’s yards per touch figure of 6.2, I think Steelers fans will be quite happy—as long as it doesn’t come with the matching fumble ratio of approximately one in 67 touches.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Steve

    Fumbles don’t sit well with Tomlin, Archer needs to address that quickly.

  • charles

    Lots of very good things can be destroyed in one play. Recall Mendy and Matthews untimely meeting in the Super Bowl. The fumbling is scary.

  • letownia

    Yeah he fumbled once every 37 touches in college. I’m hoping for the best but definitely concerned.

  • steelster

    Isn’t dexter mccluster a better comparison.

  • Virdin Barzey

    They really have to stop with the comparisons since these rookies haven’t even played in a real NFL game. Just stop it. Its embarrassing.

  • sean mcmartin

    I might be wrong, But I don’t see archer being able to absorb the big hits from the opposition.

  • steeltown

    No doubt

  • steeltown

    Excited… stay healthy my friends and protect the Football!!!

  • srdan

    I appreciate the comparisons. Of course I don’t expect him to be charles this year or by the end of his rookie contract. But it gives me a taste of what his game is like and what he excels in.

    I especially appreciate the comparisons during the draft preparation time. I am an NFL junkie and can usually only name you 3 college football players by midway through teh NCAA season. So when this site and others compare players to others, it gives me a clearer picture of how they may be utilized.

    I fully understand that 50% of draft picks don’t make it.

  • Carl Eagan

    Just Tomlin trying to sell a mistake in the 3rd round that could have been had in the 5th or later.

  • Donte Williams

    carl what Archer would not have lasted to the 4th or 5th i acutally wanted archer when i was doing my own draft picks in my head through out off season. I wanted Dennard since i seen him play but i am ok with Shazier once i read on why the Steelers took him and thinking about it the Steelers defense does start with the front 7. Tuitt Archer (who i never though we would get) Bryant McCullers Shaq and Zumwalt all who i liked although i likeked bulloch better from msu i am very pleased with this draft hopefully the play book they catch on and can contribute to this team who seems the brass is heading in the right direction. this will be the fasted defense i can remeber from the steelers and look forward to seeing them fly around

  • Jacque Strappe

    Hence the “open grass” comment.

  • ApexSteel

    Oh my god you’re here too? You’re such a clown.


    Go away loser

  • Weiss Chad

    Lol.He wouldn’t have been there at 4.15..So harsh on steelers drafting.Last time I checked steelers have most rings in last ten yrs..-just sayin…this kid can do everything but coach and Imo he was an excellent pick.

  • Virdin Barzey

    I have to respectfully disagree. I don’t mind the comparison during the draft and I don’t mind during the season if the player gets game time against real competition showing what he can really do.

    Everybody looks great with football in shorts, no pads and no real hitting. Listen to the second year players speak and hear what they have to say about college vs NFL.

    Until I see Dri or any of these rookies when actual bullets are flying, the comparisons to top NFL talent is a negator. Hope he does turn out to be a special player for us.