Believe it or not, the Pittsburgh Steelers report to training camp on July 25th, and we are digging up the '32 Scenarios in 32 Days' segment to help us all pass the time. Once a day we will be drafting a potential 2015 season scenario, telling you why it will happen, why it won't and giving you important keys for the scenario to take place.
Scenario: Steelers rookie Devin Gardner will make the team's 53-man roster as a QB/WR.
Why it will happen: The Steelers quarterback depth is anything but certain after Ben Roethlisberger and Bruce Gradkowski. The Landry Jones experiment has been downright painful at times, and has resulted in him wearing nothing but sweatpants on game days. This offseason the Steelers brought in some competition for Jones, but they were in the form of versatile college QBs who would also compete at the WR position. One of those players is Devin Gardner of Michigan.
Gardner could end Landry Jones' tenure with the Steelers as he brings a versatility to the roster which makes his spot more valuable by being competent as a wide receiver. Gardner's skill set at quarterback isn't outstanding as he was a mobile, running quarterback in college. Nonetheless, the Steelers need for him at quarterback would equate to disaster for the team before he even took a snap under center. If Roethlisberger and Gradkoswki go down, the team would be in dire straits regardless of who is under center. No NFL team has a stud third string quarterback waiting in the wings.
Due to Gardner being the more complete receiver, and the possibility of producing in that arena, as well as special teams, have him taking Jones' roster spot and making the Steelers' 53-man roster in 2015.
Why it won't happen: In the above scenario where Roethlisberger and Gradkowski go down, the team very well might like to have someone in place who not only is more accomplished at throwing the football, but also someone who knows the system from the quarterback position.
Sure, Landry Jones has been anything but impressive in his first two seasons with the team, but at the same time his skill set is more conducive to being successful in Todd Haley's offensive system than Gardner's.
Speaking of Haley's system, Jones has been in the system the past two seasons and knows the plays. Whether he can execute them has been on display the past two preseasons, but he knows the system. If Gardner is to take Jones' roster spot, he not only would have to know the special teams playbook, but also the playbook as a wide receiver and a quarterback. A lot to handle for a rookie in the NFL. This could lead to Gardner being placed on the practice squad, giving him a year to learn, before cracking the 53-man roster in 2016.
Keys: Gardner's spot will depend on several things this offseason. His ability to grasp the playbook is paramount, but Jones' play at quarterback and Gardner's play as a wide receiver will also play a large role. It will be interesting to see what, if any, kind of reps Gardner will receiver at the quarterback position this preseason. Nonetheless, if Gardner wants to make the 53-man roster as a quarterback/wide receiver, he will need Jones to keep doing what Jones does best - not playing well - and he will need to prove his worth at every position possible. A daunting task for a rookie, but certainly a possibility.