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Steelers' prove-it players: RB Dri Archer

This is the third in a three-part series of prove-it players on the Steelers’ offense during organized team activities. The Steelers have reliable starters all over the field, so becoming one isn’t the criterion as it was for the defensive prove-it players. Instead, let’s examine which players face an especially crucial year in their trajectory.

Player: Dri Archer

Pedigree: Third-round pick in 2014 is an explosive athlete and offers a change to pace to the Le'Veon Bell/DeAngelo Williams combo.

Why he must prove it: In this offense, it’s easy to get buried. Bell, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant combined for 658 offensive touches last year. Add Williams to that list and where does a 5-foot-8, 173-pound speedster such as Archer fit in the offense? As a rookie, Archer touched the ball 17 times for 63 yards rushing and receiving. Blocking won’t be his specialty, so he must carve out a role as a multi-functional threat.

Why he really must prove it: Running back Josh Harris has had a productive offsesaon by most accounts and could make a run at the No. 3 running back spot. Keeping four running backs on the 53-man roster is difficult because it places a strain on other positions. Perhaps the Steelers can keep both, but it’s possible someone will be be left out. Harris is closer to a prototypical tailback build at 5-11, 210, but he doesn’t have Archer’s speed.

Why he will prove it: Mid-round picks with 4.26-second 40 times typically stick on the roster, and Archer’s skill set is unique enough where he should do just that. The Steelers must work to carve out a Dexter-McCluster-type role for Archer, getting him open space in the screen game. Even if Harris is productive in training camp, Archer will get every chance to shake him off.