The NFL Scouting Combine has come to an end. As usual, many athletic prospects showed off their abilities in front of the nation on NFL Network in hopes of catching on with an NFL franchise and realizing their life long dream to play the sport that they love at the highest level.
As a Saints fan, there were quite a few prospects that made their way onto my wish list. I'm sure some of you noticed a few guys that have done the same. While we prepare for Christmas in May, the New Orleans Saints finally have draft picks in the top 6 rounds. This has not happened since 2005 and that was a draft that didn't exactly land the Saints quality players.
Over the past 2 years, the Saints have improved with their success through the draft, with 7 of their last 10 draft picks contributing to the success of the franchise. We can only hope that the organization continues this trend and find key pieces to a team that has to be looked at as a contender once again in 2014. With salary cap issues becoming a recurring theme to this talented franchise, hitting the jackpot is very important in this draft.
Meet Dri Archer.
The 5'8" 173 pound offensive weapon out of Kent State absolutely tore up the drills at the Combine. Of course, this skill isn't the only thing that determines success as a NFL player, but his numbers were awfully impressive.
|COMBINE DRILL||DRILL RESULTS||RANK AMONG RBS|
|40 YARD DASH||4.26 SEC||1ST|
|BENCH PRESS||20 REPS||TIE 8TH|
|VERTICAL JUMP||38 INCHES||TIE 4TH|
|BROAD JUMP||122 INCHES||TIE 10TH|
|3 CONE DRILL||6.86 SEC||4TH|
|20 YD SHUFFLE||4.06 SEC||TIE 2ND|
There were 36 running backs at the NFL Combine. Of those 36, only 2 of them finished top 10 in all 6 drills. Dri Archer and Georgia Southern's Jerick McKinnon.
So why should the Saints consider the undersized Dri Archer? With 5 running backs on the roster in 2013, running back seems like the least of concerns for a Saints team that finished 11-5.
Once again, the Saints find themselves in an unfavorable position against the salary cap. The talk of possibly moving Pierre Thomas and/or Darren Sproles off of the roster continues to seem like a necessity. This team needs to free up money to get superstar TE Jimmy Graham signed and has to find a way to put together a serviceable offensive line, whether that be by resigning free agents Zach Strief and Brian de la Puente or by finding help elsewhere. Cornerback and outside linebacker depth is also an issue. While some of these needs may be addressed in the draft, the Saints may end up finding themselves needing another dynamic offensive playmaker. And perhaps more importantly, a capable game changer at kick and punt returner.
Archer suffered through a lingering ankle injury in 2013, but had a monster season in 2012. As a junior, the 2012 Consensus All American racked up 1,990 yards from scrimmage in 14 games and found the end zone 20 times. With his last 18 collegiate kick returns, Archer returned 4 of them for touchdowns.
Considering the success that the undersized but aging Darren Sproles has found in New Orleans, Dri Archer could become a perfect fit and replacement in an offense that could use a little more youth. At the very least, the speedy Kent State prospect could provide consistency and possibly game changing ability in the return game. If it was your decision to make, would you spend one of the Saints' mid to late round picks on this play maker?