When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted running back Chris Rainey in the fifth-round of the 2012 NFL Draft, many envisioned then-new offensive coordinator Todd Haley using the Florida product much in the same way that he used Dexter McCluster as a rookie in Kansas City in 2010. That didn’t work out so well as Rainey only touched the football 40 times during his rookie season for a total of 162 yards.
Now, Haley has himself another toy in undersized running back/wide receiver Dri Archer, who the Steelers selected this past Friday in the third-round of the 2014 NFL Draft and once again the speculation is that the Kent State product will be given a McCluster-like role right out of the chute. Even veteran Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor sees that happening as well.
“If you want to know how coach Todd Haley is going to use him (Archer), just go back to when he was the head coach in Kansas City,” said Taylor on the Tuesday edition of The Ike Taylor Show. “It’s not hard to figure out if people can just sit back.”
Most of us have sat back when it comes Archer and while it’s easy to see Haley using him in a McCluster-type role in 2014, you have to wonder if he’ll be able to give him the same amount of snaps that he gave McCluster in 2010.
As a rookie, McCluster, who the Chiefs drafted in the second-round of the 2010 NFL Draft, played an amazing 411 total regular-season snaps on offense. That wound up being 36.5% of all offensive regular-season snaps the Chiefs had in 2010 and it likely would of have been much higher had McCluster not missed five games with an ankle injury.
Even though McCluster was given so much playing time as a rookie, he still ended the 2010 season with only 39 touches for 280 yards and one touchdown. That’s only one touch for every 10.5 snaps. See the problem?
Here is something else you might want to know about McCluster’s usage by Haley in 2010. Of the 387 non-penalty plays that he was on the field for, 112 of them included two tight ends on the field and another 72 included either two other running backs or one running back and one fullback in addition to McCluster. Let me make that a bit clearer. Of the 387 non-penalty plays that McCluster was on the field for in 2010, 157 of those included only one other wide receiver on the field.
Want another juicy stat concerning McCluster’s usage by Haley in 2010? The Chiefs passed 55.8% of the time when McCluster was on the field as opposed to 43% of the time when he was off of the field. Also, when two other wide receivers were on the field with McCluster in 2010, the Chiefs passed 66.7% of the time. I’ll let you chew on those stats in the comments below.
Sure, Taylor is likely right that Archer will be used by Haley much in the same way that McCluster was used in 2010, but do any of you see him getting the same kind of playing time? If he sees more than 150 regular-season snaps on offense, I will be shocked. If he sees the same percentage of snaps that McCluster did in 2010, then that means he will cut considerably into the playing time of wide receivers Markus Wheaton and Lance Moore.