While it is yet to be seen just exactly how the Pittsburgh Steelers will utilize rookie third-round draft pick Dri Archer on offense in 2014, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger gave a progress report Tuesday on the Kent State product during an interview on 93.7 The Fan.
“We did a lot of red zone stuff today and he showed some good awareness, good football skills,” said Roethlisberger following Tuesday’s OTA practice at Heinz Field. “He caught a lot of balls out of the backfield and beat a lot of guys to the end zone. So, I like what I see so far and am excited to kind of see him grow and get better, and put pads on and see what he can do.”
While Roethlisberger might like the way Archer is progressing so far as the OTA practices start winding down, he still accepts the fact that he’s still a rookie and because of that, Archer likely be limited in how much he is used initially.
“We’ll give him the whole playbook, but we cant expect him to know the ins and outs, and to read the defense on the fly, and things that you would expect a veteran like Lance Moore to do,” said Roethlisberger. “We’ll give him the whole playbook, but expect him to know certain packages, certain routs and things that we’ll utilize him in. Red zone type things. Utilize his size and speed, and kind of see what he can do from there.”
None of what Roethlisberger said Tuesday about Archer is overly surprising, but it does enforce my belief that offensive coordinator Todd Haley will be doing good to get his speedy undersized weapon an average of 10 snaps a game over the course of the 2014 season.
Archer, like fellow rookie draft pick, wide receiver Martavis Bryant, isn’t likely to be used much on offense during the first quarter of the season. As the season progresses, however, and assuming both are progressing like they should, that’s when their usage will slowly increase.
Baring any injuries, I will be shocked if either Archer or Bryant sees 150 snaps worth of playing time in 2014 as both players will be limited to certain offensive packages and plays.