by Mario Granata
Now before any of you dismiss this as a failed attempt to troll Bills fans, or something that will show a meme of "Got'em" take heed of the team and the players that are on that team that Dri Archer is now a part of. I know on the surface it seems that Rex Ryan loves to pick up the scraps of the Jets and make them players to give the AFC East a jab every now and then, but with the explosiveness that Archer brings to the table, don't be shocked if Ryan tries to pull a rabbit out of a hat on this occasion.
So a few months after the New York Jets waived Dri Archer, former 3rd round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Buffalo Bills claimed him to give an already crowded backfield another explosive player. Archer saw minimal time in Pittsburgh but the one thing that cannot be ignored is his speed. Running an impressive 4.26 40-yard dash at the combine, he turned the heads of many who watched him. Could this be the reason why Ryan wants to take a chance on him? Lets take a look at a few reasons why Archer might be headed to the defensive side of the ball.
Reason #1: Running Backs.
As mentioned above, with the likes of LeSean McCoy, Karlos Williams, Mike Gillislee and the recently drafted Jonathan Williams from Arkansas, there doesn't seem to be enough footballs to go around for all of them. You can expect that McCoy will get a bulk of the carries with Karlos Williams being a change of pace back and pound the rock. With the insurance policy of Gillislee and if need be Jonathan Williams most likely headed for the practice squad. If he was to be used offensively, it would be in a type of a "trick play" situation, which, if you are an opponent of the Bills, have to expect whenever he comes into the game. With all those factors, it doesn't seem likely that he will be in the backfield rotation, if at all.
Reason #2: Wide Receivers.
With Sammy Watkins taking the #1 spot and a battle between the trio of Leonard Hankerson, Robert Woods and dare I say, Greg Salas for the #2, it doesn't seem that Archer fits in the mix anywhere. Also with the recently drafted Kolby Listenbee as a burner type of wideout, where can Archer get on the field at receiver? When you take into account the offense that Greg Roman runs, once again, it doesn't appear that there are enough footballs to go around. Watkins will garner the #1 share of targets, followed by Charles Clay, McCoy and whoever the #2 receiver happens to be. After that, there aren't many pass plays in the book, unless the Bills want to use him in a more Tavon Austin role. Archer does match Austin's build and type of player, but Roman doesn't have the Rams playbook...or does he?
Reason #3: Draft Profile.
The following is an excerpt from Archer's draft profile taken from NFL.com:
Outstanding burst, acceleration and top-end speed to take the corner and create big plays. Can fly by MAC competition with top gear. Very good agility, balance, vision and creativity. Weaves through a crowd and can find daylight. Soft-handed and plucks the ball with ease. Extremely strong pound-for-pound. Very good career all-purpose yardage. Good versatility.
The key phrases that you should focus on in that paragraph is good versatility, balance, vision and creativity. Archer has unbelievable hips for a football player and one that is needed to keep up with today's slot receivers, and with his experience, albeit limited in playing offense in the NFL, he seems like he would be a likely candidate to come in during some nickel situations.
Ryan has pulled some bold moves during his time in the NFL and although it doesn't appear so at this time, I wouldn't be shocked at all if Archer saw some time on the defensive side of the ball. Now, I know what you are thinking: he makes Nickell Robey look like James Harrison. However, he has the ability, athleticism, and most of all, speed to keep up with the top receivers in the game and make some noise covering some of the slot receivers that the Bills will have to face in 2016.
Now, most of you might think that I am crazy for even suggesting something like this, and I could quite possibly be wrong in this instance, however you can't fault a guy for giving his opinion, right? Or can you?