KENT: The offseason has been a busy time for former Kent State star Dri Archer, who has worked out for four NFL teams with two more workouts scheduled as he prepares for the upcoming NFL Draft.
Archer has already worked out for the Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.
He was back at Dix Stadium late Tuesday morning after his former teammates wrapped up their first spring practice.
For about a half-hour, Archer fielded punts and kickoffs in front of a representative from the Indianapolis Colts. He also has future workouts scheduled with the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets before the draft May 8-10.
“I just got back after being home [Florida] for a bit while I worked out for the Cardinals,” said the 5-foot-8, 173-pound Archer. “I’m flying to Oakland next week and then the last week of April I’m flying to New York.”
Archer said he has no preference when it comes to his NFL home.
“I’m happy to go with whatever team takes me,” said Archer, who ran a 4.26 in the 40-yard dash as the fastest runner at the NFL Combine in February. He fell just 0.02 short of matching Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson’s all-time combine best time of 4.24 — the number Archer said beforehand he sought to top.
Unlike another Mid-American Conference star, Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack (whom draft guru Mel Kiper has going No. 1 overall to the Houston Texans in his latest mock draft version), there’s no guarantee Archer will play at the professional level.
According to NFL draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki, Archer’s strengths are what KSU fans have enjoyed the most, his “outstanding burst, acceleration and top-end speed to take the corner and create big plays.” As the Flashes’ most dynamic playmaker during his junior and senior seasons, Archer was a constant game-changing threat at running back, receiver and kick returner.
Archer earned national attention as a junior, rushing for 1,429 yards and combining to score 23 touchdowns as he helped lead the Flashes to their first bowl game in 40 years. But his senior season was marred by an ankle injury that limited his playing time and effectiveness, resulting in only 854 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns last season.
Nawrocki’s take on Archer’s weaknesses are the reason KSU was the only Division I team to offer Archer a football scholarship: “[He’s] very short and rail thin with no strength or running power.” Nawrocki also noted that Archer is “not a tackle-breaker and goes down easy on contact. Not a nuanced route runner.”
The bottom line for Archer as an NFL prospect is a mixed bag: “He’s an explosive playmaker lacking requisite size for the pro game,” Nawrocki summed up on Archer’s Combine page on NFL.com: “[He] can make an immediate impact in the return game and adds value as a multipurpose threat. [But his] long-term durability is greatest concern given tiny frame.”
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