The 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers had a serious need for speed and playmakers. Too many times during the 2013 season the Steelers were a step slow on defense and could not come up with a big play when it was needed. Fast forward to the 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers and one thing is very clear,the Steelers went into the off-season determined to solve their need for speed and playmakers.
Starting in free agency the Steelers signed Safety Mike Mitchell formally of the Carolina Panthers.Mike Mitchell is considered an upgrade to the Steelers secondary adding some experienced youth to the mix. Mitchell is plenty fast having run a reported 4.39 40 at his pro day in 2009. Mitchell collected 4 interceptions, 3.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 8 pass defenses and 66 tackles in 2013 for the Panthers.
The Steelers continued their quest for speed and playmakers during the 2014 NFL Draft taking linebacker Ryan Shazier in the first round with the 15th overall pick. Shazier runs a fast 4.38 40 yard dash and totaled 315 career tackles (208 solos) and 107 assists. He had 14 career sacks for minus 107 yards, 44.5 stops for losses and nine quarterback pressures. Shazier returned his only interception 17 yards for a touchdown.
The Steelers didn’t stop there, adding athletic defensive end Stephon Tuitt ,Notre Dame in the second round . Tuitt 6-5 303 totaled 127 tackles (59 solos), 21.5 sacks for minus 163 yards, 25.0 stops for losses of 176 yards and 27 quarter-back pressures. He forced four fumbles and recovered another that he advanced 77 yards for a touchdown. Tuitt totaled four pass deflections and intercepted another in the end zone for a score. He is very quick for a player his size and shows good big play potential.
The Steelers didn’t just address the defenses’ need for speed but also added a lot of speed to the offense taking Running Back/Wide Receiver/Return Specialist Dri Archer ,Kent State in the third round.Archer ran an official clocking of 4.26 seconds in the 40 yard dash in his first attempt at the NFL Combine. It was the fastest time of the day and nearly broke Chris Johnson’s all-time combine record of 4.24 .
He totaled 2,342 yards with 24 touchdowns on 325 carries (7.21 ypc). He had 99 catches for 1,194 yards (12.06 ypc) and 12 touchdowns receiving.
Archer excelled on special teams also, returning 51 kickoffs for 1,436 yards and four touchdowns. He had a career 4,980 all-purpose yards, an average of 105.96 yards per game, and recorded a total of 40 touchdowns and scored 240 points. Archer also completed a 24-yard pass for a score. Dri Archer has mind-blowing speed and has great potential for big plays whenever he touches the football an asset the Steelers love.
The Steelers also finally got their tall wide receiver in the fourth round acquiring Martavis Bryant, WR Clemson, 6-4, 211 .Bryant is tall and fast for his size running a 4.42 in the 40-yard dash. He had his best season posting 42 catches for 828 yards (19.7 average) and seven touchdowns.He caught 61 career passes for 1,354 yards in three seasons and averaged an NCAA record 22.2 yards per reception during his career
. Steeler Nation, going into the off-season the Steelers had a need for speed and playmakers on both defense and offense. So far in 2014 it looks as if the Steelers are on the fast track to filling those needs.