Was the selection of Kent State running back Dri Archer in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft the worst pick that the Pittsburgh Steelers have made dating back to 2011? Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com certainly seems to think so.
The NFL Nation reporters were asked recently to assess the worst draft decisions over the last five years from the teams that they cover and Fowler chose Archer for the Steelers and here is his reasoning:
Dri Archer seemed like an ideal pick for Pittsburgh in the third round of the 2014 draft. He had brilliant speed and ran a 4.26-second 40 at the NFL combine. The Steelers needed a kick returner, and Archer could have been a versatile weapon in the Steelers’ passing offense. But Archer’s career in Pittsburgh lasted less than two seasons, with 67 offensive yards to show for it. He was a hesitant returner and couldn’t overcome his size (5-foot-8, 173 pounds). The team released Archer, who was a free agent until the Jets signed him this offseason. The Steelers don’t miss this badly in the first three rounds very often, but Archer was easily the franchise’s worst pick from 2011 to ’15.
While Archer certainly had an underwhelming and short career in Pittsburgh, several might argue that the selection of tackle Mike Adams out of Ohio State in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft should have been Fowler’s choice. Or at worst that Adams should share the dubious honor with Archer. In fact, being that Adams had character concerns on top of questionable NFL-ability, still has me scratching my head as to why the Steelers chose to spend a second-round pick on him. If you remember, the Baltimore Ravens selected Kelechi Osemele just three picks later. Hindsight, anyone?
Others, however, might be inclined to choose outside linebacker Jarvis Jones as the Steelers worst early-round selection dating back to 2011 and with good reason as he’s yet to come close to registering the kind of production that the front office hoped to get out of him. Jones, however, still has at least one more season in order to prove his doubters wrong and it will be interesting to see if the organization winds up picking up his fifth-year option prior to the early May deadline.
If we were to include players selected by the Steelers outside of the first three rounds, safety Shamarko Thomas could certainly be considered as one of the worst selections dating back to 2011. In addition to him barely seeing the field on defense dating back to the middle of his rookie season, it’s important to remember that the Steelers actually traded up to select him in the fourth-round of the 2013 NFL Draft to get him. That trade included them giving the Cleveland Browns their third-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.
What about the selection of defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu in the fourth-round of the 2012 NFL Draft? Where does that rank on this list?
So, where do you weigh-in when it comes to this discussion? Did Fowler choose wisely?