Dallas Cowboys: A Case for Drafting Dri Archer

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Dec 22, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) runs the ball during the first half of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

If there was anything new to the Dallas offense last year that seemed to help propel this unit upwards from wherever it was, it was the emergence of a game-breaker at running back. In this case, it was former University of North Texas star Lance Dunbar, a small, quick runner with the ability to hurt defenses either carrying the ball or catching it.

As good as Dunbar looked on Thanksgiving Day against the Oakland Raiders, it’s tempting to imagine Archer playing a similar role for the Cowboys for the next several seasons.

For whatever my scouting qualifications are, it’s quite clear that Archer is not only really fast but he’s also a tremendous accelerator once he’s got the ball in his hands. Perhaps you’ve seen a few of his long touchdown runs that are reminiscent of Tony Dorsett. Archer has the speed to enter the secondary almost instantly. He then splits numerous defensive backs that find often themselves suddenly out of position to help. The result is generally a long touchdown run.

Archer’s impact on special teams can’t be overlooked either. He was the 2012 Mid-American Conference Special Teams Player of the Year after taking three kickoffs back for touchdowns.

Speed kills on the football field and Dallas could certainly use some. Now without the continued, if not occasional, services of wide receiver Miles Austin, the Cowboys would be well-served in drafting a guy who can change a football game with pure speed. It would sure seem that a potential second or third round selection of Archer would pay dividends right away.

Now, at 5’8” and just 173 pounds, nobody can expect Archer to be the kind of back that carries a franchise long-term with lethal athleticism, like Johnson, Barry Sanders or Adrian Peterson. He’s not a guy who’s going to carry the ball 20 or more times per contest—then again, exactly who is going to carry the ball that many times?

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