Former Boston College quarterback turned wide receiver, Tyler Murphy, was brought in for a pre-draft visit by the Pittsburgh Steelers prior to the 2015 NFL Draft. After all seven rounds were concluded, Murphy was not drafted and ultimately signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent.
Today, we will be reviewing three games from Murphy’s 2014 campaign, but not from a quarterback standpoint. This article will focus on Murphy’s abilities with the ball in his hands.
Lucas Campbell wrote an exceptional article on Murphy’s route to the NFL, you can read it here:
#2 – Tyler Murphy/ WR Boston College: 6’2”, 213lbs
In 2014: 181 attempts, 1184 yards, 11 touchdowns on the ground
Averaged just under 14 rushing attempts per game
Averaged 91 yards per game
Averaged 6.5 yards per rushing attempt
Against Penn State: 11 attempts, 105 yards (9.5 avg), 1 touchdown – Murphy ran the ball 17% of total offensive snaps
Read option. Murphy reads the outside linebacker and runs for the outside. A couple shifty moves and great vision lands him 14 yards and a first down.
One of my favorite plays by Murphy. Puts a nasty move on a defender and he’s off to the races for a 40-yard touchdown. Very impressive.
Against Clemson: 13 attempts, 55 yards (4.2 avg) – Murphy ran the ball 23% of total offensive snaps
Play action, gets pressured and manages to break and escape some tackles. Showcasing his ability to make people miss.
Read option. Uses his vision and speed to get into space. Follows blockers for 18 yards.
When the ball is in Murphy’s hands, he makes plays. Look at all the broken tackles and space he creates by being elusive.
Against USC: 13 attempts, 191 yards (14.7 avg), 1 touchdown – Murphy ran the ball 24.5% of total offensive snaps
Murphy creates space and is able to extend the play for a first down and more.
Read option. Uses his speed to get into the open field and puts down a great move on the defender to almost reach a touchdown.
Another read option. Murphy takes it for a good gain.
Gets to the edge again on the next play with the read option. Gaining substantial yardage.
Murphy showcasing his vision and his speed. He hits another gear to take this 2nd and 4th play to the house and seal the victory against USC.
As you have probably concluded, the Steelers have signed Murphy for what he can achieve when he has the ball in space. He is very shifty and makes many defenders miss. His speed is above average and can kick into another gear when in an open field.
I see Murphy as Antwaan Randle El 2.0. Randle El spent his four years at Indiana University playing quarterback, but was drafted by the Steelers in the second round as a wide receiver. Randle El found his success at wide receiver, punt returner and kick returner. How does this relate to Murphy? Randle El was involved in a number of trick plays, including throwing a touchdown pass in Super Bowl XL. Bruce Arians knew how to use Randle El and it was fun to watch as you never knew what to expect. Pending on him making the 53-man roster, my guess is that the Steelers plan on using Murphy in a similar fashion. Being creative and having a versatile offensive weapon that is unpredictable could give the Steelers yet another competitive edge. Don’t get me wrong, Murphy has a great arm and could be used to push Landry Jones, but his talents are best to be utilized elsewhere.
I was very skeptical after hearing the Steelers brought in Murphy for a pre-draft visit, and about the undrafted free agent signing. I’m not a fan of quarterback converts, but after watching Murphy I couldn’t be more of a fan of the signing. I’m very excited to hear about Murphy’s progress and their plans for him in the future. He is a true dual threat.
Games Watched: 2014 Pinstripe Bowl vs. Penn State, 2014 vs. Clemson, 2014 vs. USC