Steelers take Notre Dame DL and Kent State RB in second and third rounds of NFL Draft
May 9, 2014 8:20 PM
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Stephon Tuitt of Notre Dame rushes against Chad Wheeler of USC at Notre Dame Stadium on October 19, 2013 in South Bend, Indiana.
By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers continued to rebuild their defense on the second day of the NFL draft when they selected Notre Dame defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt with their second-round pick Friday night.
It is the first time since 2007 the Steelers have taken two defensive players with their first two picks. The Steelers took Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier with the No. 15 overall pick Thursday night.
In 2007, the Steelers took linebackers Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley.
Tuitt, who is 6 feet 5 and 304 pounds, fills a need at defensive end where the Steelers have only one experienced starter currently on their roster – former first-round pick Cam Heyward.
Tuitt had surgery in March to repair a fracture in his left foot. He visited the Steelers during the predraft process.
With their compensatory pick in the third round, the Steelers selected Kent State running back Dri Archer, a speedy back who the Steelers timed at sub 4.2 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine.
The Steelers only had two running backs with NFL experience on their roster – starter Le’Veon Bell and backup LeGarrette Blount, who is a bruising red zone threat. Archer fits the mold of player offensive coordinator Todd Haley likes to have at his disposal.
In his first season with the Steelers in 2012, the Steelers drafted Chris Rainey in the fifth round. He was cut after an off-field issue following his rookie season. Last season the Steelers signed LaRod Stephens-Howling in free agency. Stephens-Howling was injured in the season opener and did not play again.
Archer is a gifted receiver out of the backfield and could be a kickoff and punt returner. At Kent State, he caught 99 passes for 1,194 yards. He rushed for 2,342 yards in his college career.
“We’re very, very excited,” Steelers running backs coach James Saxon said. “This organization just got another potentially great football player. He’ll be a dynamic football player.”
Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com and Twitter @rayfitt1.
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