For most of the Pittsburgh Steelers OTA practices, it appeared as though undrafted Tyler Murphy received most of his reps at the wide receiver position after playing quarterback last season at Boston College. However, now that minicamp had opened, Murphy, one of two slash-type players on the Steelers roster, is back under center for now.
According to Jacob Klinger of PennLive, Murphy and Devin Gardner, an undrafted free agent out of Michigan who the Steelers claimed off of waivers from the New England Patriots nearly a month ago, have traded places.
Gardner, the Steelers other slash-type player, reportedly spent a great amount of time at quarterback during the team’s OTA practices and judging by the comments made last week recently by quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner, he has a lot to work on.
“Probably everything,” Fichtner said, according to Klinger, when asked what Gardner needs to work on. “I mean, this will be all totally new to him, much like many of the type of spread quarterbacks that play – heck, he was a spread quarterback that played and wasn’t even a full-time quarterback.”
As for Murphy, while he is also unlikely to make the Steelers final 53 man roster as a third quarterback, he certainly was elusive in his one season at Boston College. While he only completed 57.0% of his passes with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, he rushed for 1184 yards and another 11 touchdowns. 43 of his runs went for 10 yards or more and 19 went for 20 or more. In other words, I’m more excited about Murphy than I am Gardner and that’s not saying much.
Assuming Steelers backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski is now back in the rotation after missing a few practices because of a sore shoulder, the reps under center or in the shotgun figure to be few for the Steelers two slash players. Barring injuries, I will be surprised if both Murphy and Gardner stay on the roster the entire offseason as the Steelers will likely need a roster spot or two at some point during training camp because of minor injuries.