As a third-round pick and the fastest player in the 40-yard dash at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, rookie Dri Archer will get every chance to become a return ace for the Steelers.
However, it’s been a rough go on kickoffs thus far for the Kent State product.
In five regular season games, Archer has returned just 1-of-9 kickoffs beyond his own 20-yard-line, and he’s yet to even reach the 25 on any return. He also has one punt return for two yards.
Steelers special teams coordinator Danny Smith believes Archer is going through “growing pains” as he learns his craft, especially as it pertains to using other elements of his game than speed. But he also believes the 5-foot-8, 173-pound Archer is “going to be a good football player” once everything clicks.
“There are a lot of fast guys working at McDonald’s that can’t play this game. There just is,” Smith said Thursday, according to the club. “There are a lot of things that you have to do, and he’s learning those things, and it’s a maturation process.
“I love the guy. I’ll never give up on him because he works.”
Smith believes Archer “presses” with an eye on making a big play, something the long-time special teams coach believes is to be expected.
But Smith also expects Archer to break out at some point.
“As soon as that kid makes a big play we’ll all be jumping on the bandwagon,” Smith said. “We’ll all be celebrating, ‘Hey he’s what we thought he was.’ It will come. It really will. I’ve seen it too many times. (It’s) because of his work habits and because of his athleticism and because of his want to I think he’s going to be fine. And the sooner the better.”