One big, one small. That about sums up the Pittsburgh Steelers second day of the 2014 NFL Draft as two more players were added to the fold.
In the second round, the Steelers went big as they filled a need on their defensive line with the selection of Notre Dame defensive tackle Stephon Tuitt. Tuitt, who reportedly measured in at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine at 6054, 304 pounds, will likely be groomed to play the right defensive end spot on the Steelers defensive line.
While the Steelers were able to draft Tuitt with the 14th overall pick in the second round, defensive line coach John Mitchell feels the team got a steal due to him playing through a hernia injury in 2013.
“If you look at his sophomore year, this guy was probably one of the best defensive linemen in college,” said Mitchell of Tuitt. “He had 11 sacks. He played the run very well. He was a dominant player. Before the 2013 season, he had a hernia injury. He wasn’t able to train. He got heavy and if you look at him from the 2013 season and you compare him to the 2012 season, you’re going to see a different guy.”
in 2012, Tuitt registered 12 sacks to go along with 13 tackles for loss. In 2013, however, those numbers dropped a little as he finished the season with 7.5 sacks and just 9 tackles for loss. Mitchell, however, suggested to look at Tuitt’s entire body of work.
“If you look at his stats for three years, you’re going to see a guy who had a lot of production.”
In the third round, the Steelers went small, as they used their compensatory pick to select diminutive Kent State running back/wide receiver Dri Archer. Archer, who measures in at 5076, 173 pounds, caught 99 passes for 1,194 yards and 12 touchdowns in 47 games played at Kent State. In addition, he averaged 7.21 yards per carry during his college career on 325 opportunities. He also returned 51 kickoffs for 1,436 yards and four touchdowns.
According to new running backs coach James Saxon, they had Archer timed in the sub 4.2 range in the 40-yard dash and the goal is to get the ball in his hands as often as possible.
“Todd Haley is going to do a great job with that and we’re all going to work together to get this guy in the right place,” said Saxon.
The Steelers still have six picks left to make with their next one scheduled to come in round four as the draft moves into its third and final day Saturday.