With Le’Veon Bell suspended for three games (likely two games) and DeAngelo Williams signed this offseason to a multiple year deal, it begs the question: Will the Pittsburgh Steelers select another running back in the 2015 Draft or will the Steelers show more faith in second-year pro Dri Archer? You could see both sides of this question, in many ways.
This is a deep draft class for running backs, but the position is not a pressing need for the Steelers. When Bell returns, he will receive at least 85 percent of the carries. And while Bell will be inactive because of suspension, Williams is clearly a proven player to fill in. If Williams can handle at least 15-20 carries a game while working as the starter, would it be too farfetched for Archer to handle 5-8 carries a game and possibly 3-4 plays on special teams?
Head coach Mike Tomlin has said several times before, the rookie year is a learning experience, but he and the coaching staff expect a substantial leap in year two. Archer, being a third round pick in 2014, works for the young back, being that most teams don’t give up on their third round pick(s) after one season. The speed of Archer still intrigues the Steelers and any player drafted likely will not present the match-up problems that Archer has the potential to present.
When you consider the lack of production from Archer in 2014 and Williams’ injury history, it is understandable why so many fans want to see a running back drafted. If Williams is injured in the pre-season, Archer, who weights 173 pounds, clearly is not built to carry the football 20-plus times. That could force Josh Harris into the lineup. Harris wasn’t able to show much spark his rookie season (2014) either.
Competition either elevates or exposes a player, so drafting a running back could very well push Archer because last season, he had little to no competition from Harris pushing him for a roster spot. Prospects such as Terrance Magee (LSU), T.J. Yeldon (Alabama), and Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska) are potential draft prospects for the Steelers due to their quickness, speed, and receiving skills with all being bigger than Archer. The question may only be answered once the 2015 draft rolls around.
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