Former Steeler Dri Archer Cut By Jets

Dri Archer reportedly had up to ten practice squad offers following his mid-season release by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He opted against them all, remaining a free agent until signed to a futures contract with the New York Jets in early February.

That stint has come to a quick close, the Jets releasing Archer today. Per Manish Mehta.

Archer, drafted in the late third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, couldn’t even last two seasons with the Steelers. Mike Tomlin and company decided to sign Jacoby Jones, a move that also proved to be ineffective, cutting ties with Archer.

Getting released at this point is a bad sign for his NFL career. He may latch on with a team by training camp but will have an uphill climb to make a roster. The NFL still hasn’t figured out how to get him involved on offense with a consistent, defined focus, and his return abilities never matched his elite speed. It’s one of the bigger whiffs of the Tomlin era.

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • alevin16

    SIGN HIM!!! Yes I am kidding 😀

  • SnoopDogg123

    He’s a track athlete, not a football player. Steelers fell in love with his 40 yard dash time.

  • Matt Manzo

    Believe it or not, we could be one injury away from having to call him!
    What other returners are on the streets right now?

  • steelburg

    I know I may be bashed for this but I wouldn’t mind seeing him on the practice squad making the conversion to WR all while still working on punt and kick returns. If I remember correctly the team tried to sign him to the practice squad when he cleared waivers the first time.

  • Jacob

    Even in his college tape, he had the speed…but no clear cutting ability on returns as he typically ran in a straight line.

    With the Steelers, he seemed tentative with going full speed or somehow lost a step.

    Having said this, he seemed to perform well at RB during the preseason and even in-season games. Maybe he was too fumble-prone in practice. Either way, a wasted 3rd round pick :/

  • SnoopDogg123

    Kick Return specialist are a dying breed. Archer’s worth in NFL diminished when he proved to be incapable of returning punts. At this point, I wouldn’t even classify Archer or anyone as a Return Specialist unless they can do both really well.

  • William Weaver

    No risk with non guaranteed money. Don’t see why not. Let him earn a practice squad position. No bashing from me but I doubt they do it

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I wish we wouldn’t have cut him to begin with seeing all the kr shenanigans we dealt with afterwards.

  • Steve

    Coaches need to come up with a way of testing players cutting speed or lack of.

  • William Weaver

    Jacoby was an embarrassment! I am usually a Tomlin supporter but that was a bad decision. The dude was done and it was obvious. He knew it and was not fearless anymore either. Oh well, we move on.

  • OIF3gunner

    Me, I would be better than he is and I’m 37, white, slow and overweight..

  • OIF3gunner

    What about the guy we just drafted as a punt return specialist?

  • OIF3gunner

    No, not worth the ink or the paper.

  • OIF3gunner

    He didn’t do much better.

  • John Noh

    The kid needs to forget about the NFL for a while and rehab his career in the CFL, where the rules and the field dimensions may play in his favor.

  • Steve Johnson

    Too often Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert have reached for players, I just hope that’s not the case this year.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Archer isn’t a return guy either so…..

  • Phil Brenneman II

    No surprises here. Archer is awful and will never be a legit NFL player.

  • SnoopDogg123

    To my knowldge, he can also return kick offs and has a chance as making it as 5th WR. If not, he will not make it either.

  • newguy68

    Dri Archer, Mike Adams … the list grows and grows.

  • Nolrog

    Wasted 3rd round pick. We gotta do better.

  • Nolrog

    That ship has sailed. Archer did nothing for us while he was here. There’s no reason to expect he’ll do anything now except waste a roster spot.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    No, he did better and that’s the point add to the fact that IMO our kr blocking is not that great.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Honestly, a decision I could not understand or even condone.

  • gdeuce

    compensatory 3rd round pick

  • Rusted Out

    “The NFL still hasn’t figured out how to get him involved” Thx Alex, I needed a good laugh. Perhaps if he wasn’t a boy amongst men, the NFL might find a way to employ him. No, wait… all he needs is the right system to display his dazzling return abilities. Hahaha Big Wiff!

  • Todd that dude!

    Poor Dri, bruh can’t catch a break. Our ST unit was not great at opening holes for him, but when they did he wasn’t finding them often enough. Good luck Dri.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Yep, he needs to go the CFL route. Go Canada Dri lol.

  • Rusted Out

    A wasted pick nonetheless

  • RickM

    Post draft 2014: “He’s a splash playmaker. Regardless of position, he’s a playmaker. He’s a guy that gets yards in chunks and rings up the scoreboard.” Not quite Mike. Oh well, you win some you lose some.

  • 6 ring circus

    I can just see Dri flying through the air in a sprawled position after taking a Burfict shoulder shiver at full speed. Call an ambulance.

  • RickM

    A combine pick. The worst kind of pick of all by far.

  • NinjaMountie

    The Jets told him not to let the door hit him on the way out. It did and he fell over.

  • NinjaMountie

    Rick, my friend, you have to take a break. The Tomlin dislike is turning into obsession. 🙂

  • NinjaMountie

    Have him catch a chicken. Rocky style!

  • CP72

    Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, Marcus Gilbert, Stephon Tuitt…..all probably considered “reaches'”.

  • CP72

    What list? Do you want to go Colbert hits vs misses?

  • VaDave

    Our return blocking is atrocious. I’m firmly convinced this is the lowest priority on the team. What I mean is there is only so much practice time to allocate. I would venture to say that our coverage units get more time that the return teams, the defense significantly more time than the ST coverage units, with the offense getting the most of all the units. The blocking on our return teams has been abysmal for decades, not that we have placed top level talent back there running the ball. Think of this, the last time we won a Super Bowl, we had a scrubeanie fullback returning kicks…. Can’t remember his name, he wasn’t around long…

  • OIF3gunner

    Not really a kick returner. So your personal classification appears to be wrong.

  • OIF3gunner

    He did better maybe because Jones didn’t have as many chances.

  • VaDave

    Seems to me he’s been winning a lot more than losing which I think is the point of the exercise.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Nwelde Moore (SP) yeah that’s the truth and I get it because we were terrible at coverage for a second a few years back. I understand we can’t give up yards on coverage but we need better blocking in Returns to give us a boost when we’re no clicking.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    You funny. You telling me you would give him more chances to lose a game for us? Lol! I understand you don’t care for Dri, but you’re not winning this. Let it go. Lol! Dri was better than what we had after we cut him. Simple as that! Thanx for playing!

  • Ed Smith

    Jacoby Jones!! (Just kidding). 🙂

  • Jaybird

    I’m baffled as to why no one blames coach Smith! No matter who we put back there they stink. The blocking is horrendous. Each year we keep getting more and more athletic but it never shows on special teams. WTF! I think coach Smith has to start taking some blame for the special teams disaster year after year

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I give him credit for fixing our coverage, but C’MON! I didn’t think Dri deserved to be cut.

  • dany

    Didn’t they try to and he declined? You think the steelers will go down that road again?? It’s not about pride, but that probably told them alot about himself. Taught he was too good for the PS and look, no one signed him till january and was cut 4 months later. Maybe he needed a reality check but the steelers wont be the ones to bring him back, literally

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    They want to dump on Tomlin and Colbert all the time , but cheer for the offense they built.

  • Michael Conrad

    Jarvis Jones will be on the list next year and so will Landry Jones its the NFL not for long league. I would bet the Steelers may look at the QB cuts before the season and cut Jones if they fine a cheap QB arm.

  • thomas hmmmm

    In Dri’s defense he was averaging 25 yards a return up form 17 the season before… It was just a dumb move by the team to sign Jacoby and cut Archer.. Although I kind of understand it because Jacoby can return punts and Dri can’t.. Returning punts is really what the team needs just so AB is not the guy back there.

  • thomas hmmmm

    Someone is intentionally forgetting all the fumbles Jones had once he joined pitt.. And yet he continues to bash a guy who was playing better at the time.

  • Todd that dude!

    I agree. Every time Ab is out there to return a punt I can’t help but feel worried. It is well over due that we find someone to fill that role. Hopefully Ayers is that guy this year. I’m surprised they didn’t use Todman more to fill that role last year.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Word is he ran straight to the door, slamming into it at full sprint.

  • Bob Loblaw

    He probably doesn’t get cut if he didn’t make some bone headed decisions on carrying the ball out this year.

  • RickM

    Not really. I looked for a post-draft quote about Archer and it could have been Colbert, Tomlin or Haley. And it was Tomlin who gushed about the guy.

    As for an obsession with Tomlin, I am nowhere near as tough on him as some. But if you want me to ignore his comments about a major miss like Archer, or if you want me to give him – as a former DB coach – a pass on the failed secondary picks of the past, sorry no go.

  • NinjaMountie

    Nah. I was giving you a half-joking hard time.
    As far as Tomlin goes, we really don’t know the dynamics of the drafting process. I have to judge him by what he does with the team they have. That’s been really good. All coaches have warts and Tomlin has his share for sure.
    As far as post draft comments, what do you want him to say? Let’s be a little fair here.

  • RickM

    He has won more than he’s lost for sure. And if the story had been about his record I would have seconded that. But the story was about a major 3rd-round draft pick who didn’t make a lot of sense to many Steelers’ fan when he was taken. Sorry you find the post-draft quote so troubling.

  • RickM

    I don’t think it has anything to do with being fair. There were a lot of fans very much bewildered by this pick, and they were right. As for post-draft comments, of course team personnel gush about draft picks. It’s the magnitude of the miss that is just a little unusual here. They were just exceptionally far off in their opinion of how they thought Archer would project into the NFL. There have definitely been bigger busts, but not too many. Cheers.

  • OIF3gunner

    Not at all, but Jones definitely has a better career of returning in the NFL, unlike someone else. I think you are funny!

  • OIF3gunner

    Not at all, i hate them both.

  • OIF3gunner

    Oh, that’s also what the front office felt as they signed Jacoby and ultimately released Dri… So actually, YOU aren’t “winning” this.

  • Xclewsive

    This is the same thing they said about William Gay!

  • Rusted Out

    Dritards…. They can’t be helped. Save yourself.

  • NinjaMountie

    I found it an odd pick for sure. A waste or a luxury, I wasn’t too thrilled with either.
    The draft is like most things. People remember the bad picks more than the good ones. The facts are there will be more misses than hits; especially in later rounds.
    We can just hope a coach can trot out competitive teams every year and if lucky get us to a SB and if we’re really lucky, win it. Tomlin has checked all those boxes already. I’m cool if he doesn’t hit a homerun with every mid/late round draft pick.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    But his career over tho! He got released by the friggin Chargers! I bet you was dancing in the streets when we made that dumb move by signing him! Lol! Maybe we had better blocking Dri would have had a chance! Maybe if we used him more of how we used him in the preseason games he would have been more successful too!

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Hindsight being 20/20, I did when this! We had better production from Dri! We could have literally left no one back there and had better output than Jones and Wheaton! Lol!

  • Nathanael Dory

    ah! good one!

  • steeltown

    Atleast we dont draft qbs every 2-3yrs like ALot of other Teams do

  • steeltown

    Why I pay nearly no attention to combine numbers. It truly has become a circus. Football players performing without football pads

  • steeltown

    Damn haha

  • jsteeler

    The Coach Tomlin Era?: 82-46 (.642) Best winning percentage start by any Coach in Steeler History. How does 1 ex player’s mishaps become a Whiff of an Head Coach? By the way, Kevin Colbert drafted Archer for Coach Todd Haley’s Offense and Coach Danny Smith’s ST unit. How is it a Whiff in the Tomlin’s era? I guess your hate motivated you to connect Coach Tomlin’s name in here with a Dri Archer story to incite some B.S. Coach Tomlin coaches Coordinators and Coaches not individual players. Last year was the 1st time I’ve seen Coach Tomlin and Coach Butler working together in Latrobe with all of the DB’s for a new cover 2 scheme. If anyone whiffed I’d say Colbert did. Colbert also drafted Chris, Mr slap my girlfriend in the face with a cell phone Rainey and also got Stefan Logan in FA and let him go after a great year and he ended up in Detroit leading the NFL in returns and punts. Were those whiffs too? How about bringing in Jacoby Jones last year? Was this a whiff? Alex, Dri Archer is an afterthought to us true Steeler Fans. I thought the story’s angle was about the Steelers inviting him to try out again. I was wrong. I’m glad The Steelers let him go when they did. They were smart.

  • jsteeler

    Archer will never receive a call from the Steelers. They had lost confidence in him. To be released after 8 games of 2015 season it had to be a underlying reason to get him out of the Building. The Steelers gave him ample time to hone his craft. Almost 2 years with the best facilities and coaching available. I’m sure he left Pittsburgh feeling salty. Who cares.

  • jsteeler

    The Steelers released him in the middle of the season for a player released by another AFC team. (Chargers) If Archer comes back to Pittsburgh he’ll be visiting his homeboy AB at his house.

  • jsteeler

    No, Mr. Jaybird. Coach Tomlin is the only reason that any or everything that is negative with the Steelers happens to the Steeler.
    Sir, Is this your 1st time on here. Well you’ll get immuned to it.
    Can you help me understand this: If Kevin Colbert asked Mr. Rooney to pay for Stefan Logan, Chris Rainey or Dri Archer to come in. Mr Rooney tells Omar Khan to cut the check. Colbert brings him to Coach Danny Smith. He plays like Crap. How is it Coach Tomlin’s Fault? Wow.

  • jsteeler

    We?
    You were not invited into a draft room or was asked to make any decisions for this Organization.
    You can continue to have faith in the Scouts and Colbert do their due diligence.
    now, You can positively support the team, attend games and buy Steeler’s paraphernalia.
    We may be fans but that is as far as it goes.

  • VaDave

    What is troubling is the prevailing sentiment that there is incompetence within the brain trust of the Steelers. These guys do an incredible job, 3rd round picks be damned. Could they be better? Of course. So could 31 other teams.

  • ND_Steel

    I said this after his very first pre-season game when he broke a screen for a long gain and Dave just blasted me for such a suggestion. Guy was just not quick in tight spaces and went down way too easily.

  • joed32

    Good point, no matter who we put back there doesn’t seem to matter.

  • SnoopDogg123

    then he will not make the Team.

  • ND_Steel

    I think you’re thinking of Gary Russell from MN…

  • SwagDaddy330

    Yeah but the blocking wasn’t there for him so it’s not his fault.

  • Big White

    I wish Dri the best moving forward and still believe another team will at least give him a shot in 2017 if not this year. Almost impossible to believe that he’s been this bad. 36 frickin’ touchdown (24 rush 12 receiving 4 by return) and nearly 5000 total yards while in college. I know we’re talking Kent State here but there is some talent in that conference. Heck our HOF QB and HOF OLB are MAC guys.

  • joed32

    Davenport.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    Impossible to believe! I’m shocked he stuck around the league this long. At his size, he was undraftable. I don’t care if he produced at Alabama. His size (skinniness) dictated he could not be productive in the NFL. There is no one in the league to compare to this kid. Mcluster, sproles, etc, are all much bigger bmi wise. DRI was in a class by himself.

  • Big White

    Dude. The guys in college are just as big. The big difference in the NFL is the speed not bulk. He just could never get guys into bad angles because of it. If anything his lack of evasiveness is what sent him packin’.

  • Matt Manzo

    I agree. I’m just saying if Ayers lays an egg and Wheaton got hurt, what options would they have?

  • thomas hmmmm

    If I recall correctly he fumbled like 5 times.. Although not all were lost.
    Dri was doing good as a kick returner, but a kick returner isn’t what the team needs, the team needs a guy who can do punt returns and kick returns. That’s the main reason Jones was signed and Dri released because Jones does both.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    Negative. There are many college football athletes that are well undersized to play in the NFL. Many are just as big, but look at how many come into the NFL and gain another 15-20 lb’s in their 1st few years. The strength is another aspect. The guys in the NFL are overall way, way, way stronger. And speed you already hit. They are big, strong, and fast in the NFL. Lots of college kids lack 1 or 2 of these traits. Dri lacked size and strength in a severe way. This is why I think he didn’t even run fast for us. He played slow. Probably because he was always playing in fear of getting jacked.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    I hate it when people act like a compensatory pick becomes a luxury pick. No. It is still a pick in that round and shouldn’t be considered free reign to gamble. Stick to the board. Like you said, a wasted 3rd round pick.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    Too small and weak. He didn’t go full speed because he was afraid of getting jacked.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I wish we could have given more shots in the slot. I think he could have been very productive!

  • Steve

    Warren Buffet once said – If you have a hard job, give it to a lazy person. They will find the quickest and easiest way of doing it.

  • Steve

    Jacob – Do remember Archer being in the clear and needed to put on the afterburners, which he did not do and got caught from behind. Which proves, you can have all the speed in the world, but if it does not translate over to the field of play, it’s useless.

  • Steve

    Thats about it. Just ask Boykin last year. On paper he was a shoe in, on the team he mostly sat the bench. With Blake starting, our secondary looked like the Three Stooges, no one could or would tackle. Glad to clean house and start fresh.

  • Steve

    Tomlin had two embarrassments with Jacoby. Being on the field and almost getting run over and employing the bum for the Steelers.

  • Steve Johnson

    I agree, no organization is perfect, sometimes as a Steeler Fan, we expect the F/O to be just that though.

  • jsteeler

    Right on! Blake was forced into that position with Cortez Allen getting hurt. Coach Lake and Butler had to do something.

  • jsteeler

    The only option. AB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Steve

    Jaybird – Have you ever blocked on ST? I have and it is not an easy job. The majoritie of athletes are not asked to block. They are usually asked to run with the ball or tackle.

  • Steve

    We had Gay and Cockrell at CB. No one is ever forced to do anything.