Yeah, a ranged defender wouldn’t have made a ton of sense. I think a Striker subclass would have been the way to go. Of course, I’m one of the weirdos who actually really liked Essentials.Any ideas how a ranged defender might've been implemented?
Once HotFL came around, and Fighter (sub-classes) could be strikers, I suppose the door was open. You actually could make an archery-oriented slayer, doubling up on DEX bonus to damage wasn't bad - but the Slayer's main damage spike, Power Strike, became a back-up option. A Fighter(Archer) sub-class along the same lines, with a different Encounter exploit would've been quite easy.
The go-to Essentials Archer, of course, was the Ranger(Hunter), a mostly-Martial, part-Primal-caster who conjured clouds of mist and the like to play at controller.