When the Pittsburgh Steelers claimed Devin Gardner off of waivers after he was released by the New England Patriots fans were wondering if he was the next Kordell 'Slash' Stewart. However, all reports coming from the Steelers facility point to Gardner being nothing more than a special teams player and wide receiver. After all, you watch his college film and he wasn't much of a passer.
What is being forgotten, or unaccounted for, is there is another player currently at Steelers OTAs who might just be the wild card who could play multiple positions for the Steelers. That player would be former Boston College quarterback Tyler Murphy.
It is well documented how the Steelers have shown the ability to draft athletic college quarterbacks and turn them into versatile play makers for the team. Kordell Stewart, Hines Ward and Antwaan Randle El are all great examples of the team turning athletes into assets. Murphy just might be the man next on that list.
As reported by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Chris Adamski, Murphy is doing whatever it takes to make the team's 53-man roster in 2015.
Neglected to mention yesterday I had a nice chat with former Florida and Boston Coll QB Tyler Murphy, who is on the Steelers roster as a WR.— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) May 27, 2015
Tyler Murphy is in meeting rooms for both QB /WR. Says he believes his best chance to make '15 roster is as #3 QB + special teams + depth WR— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) May 27, 2015
Aiming for the team's No. 3 quarterback spot might be his best bet at making the roster, as Landry Jones hasn't shown a glimmer of being worthy of his 4th round draft status since putting on a black and gold uniform. However, not only would aiming for the No. 3 quarterback position be his best bet, his versatility would be an attractive asset to the team on game days.
Barring injury, I could have put Landry Jones' name on the gameday inactive list for all 16 games in 2014, and no one would argue with me. However, if someone like Murphy would be able to out play Jones or simply prove his worth on the roster, his versatility would allow him to dress on game days and be a contributor on many levels.
While at Boston College in 2014, Murphy put up some nice statistics for a mobile quarterback. Murphy had 131 completions last year for 1,623 yards and 13 touchdowns. On the ground Murphy was equally impressive rushing for 1,184 yards on 181 attempts for 11 touchdowns. Murphy is the epitome of a dual threat when it comes to his ability to make the team. To compare Murphy's 2014 to Gardner's 2014 is telling. Gardner threw for 1,896 yards on 283 attempts, and rushed for only 258 yards on 98 attempts. When it comes to versatility, Murphy is the better candidate by far.
Outside of being an emergency backup quarterback, Murphy will have to prove his worth in both special teams and as a receiver to make the roster. He will have to beat out players like veteran Darrius Heyward-Bey and C.J. Goodwin to earn his spot, but what he brings to the table is something no other receiver has outside of Gardner, and that is a history of throwing the football. When Mike Tomlin spoke openly about possibly going for the two-point conversion with regularity, someone like Murphy would be a tremendous asset to the team.
Is it a long shot for Murphy to be wearing a Steelers uniform in 2015? Most would consider it to be just that. However, his versatility makes him an attractive prospect, and someone the team will have to consider at multiple positions as training camp approaches.