Overview: Though he hasn’t been linked to the Bears much this offseason, I decided to do a profile on Dri Archer because he fills a need and I actually hope he gets drafted by Chicago. Archer put up some monster numbers in college, despite only starting 21 games for the Golden Flashes. His junior year was definitely the high point of his college career, rushing for 1429 yards with 16 TD’s and catching 39 passes for 561 yards with 4 TD’s, all while averaging a staggering 9 yards per carry and 15.6 yards per reception. He also averaged 36.9 yards per kick return during the 2012 season. His senior year in 2013 was an injury plagued one, but he still averaged 7.8 yards per carry and 13.1 yards per reception while scoring 10 total TD’s. Archer was voted first-team All-MAC as a junior.
- Elite Speed. Ran a 4.26 40 at the Combine and it shows up on tape. This kid can absolutely fly.
- Excellent Acceleration. Reaches top speed in a heartbeat.
- Good Balance. Manages to keep his feet under him in some pretty extreme situations.
- Rare change of direction ability. Weaves through defenders with ease and will definitely break some ankles at the NFL level.
- Natural catching the football. Catches the ball with his hands and doesn’t let it get to his body much.
- Special kick returner. Should be a standout on special teams immediately, no pun intended.
- Undersized. At 5-8 and 173 lbs., I doubt he’ll be a running back at the next level and will still be small for a wide out.
- Not a lot of yards after contact. When defenders can actually get their hands on him, he goes down pretty easily.
- Doesn’t catch well in traffic. Has a hard time dealing with contact from defenders.
- Work ethic concerns. Was academically ineligible in 2011.
- Durability issues. Diminutive size and an injury riddled senior season don’t exactly bode well.
NFL Player Comparison: Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams. Austin may have gone in the top 10 of last year’s draft, but Archer actually beat him in every event at the Combine. The size is the best part of this comparison, but I also expect Archer to have a similar rookie season to what Austin did last year. He’ll mostly be used as a kick returner, but we all remember what Tavon Austin did to the Bears last season (on my birthday, no less).
The Way I See It: The Bears can get a player who could not only replace Devin Hester, but also has extremely high upside as a slot receiver? Sign me up. I’ve seen pretty widely varying ideas about where Archer could go in the draft, but I tend to think he’ll wind up being a second rounder. Speed is highly valued, and players as fast as he is don’t come along every year. I’d be happy if the Bears took him in the second round, but I’d be absolutely ecstatic if he fell to them in the third.