There are not a lot of meaningful conclusions that you can reach about a player after the end of his first season, but that certainly doesn’t stop people from talking about it. You can find just about any variety of analysis that you would care to read if you just look for it, complete with bold letter grades.
I’m not going to do that. But I am going to talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers’s 2015 NFL Draft class, both collectively, in this article, as was as individually, in succeeding articles.
While the tides have slowly turned in Pittsburgh regarding rookie players being held back in terms of playing time in recent years, the 2015 class outside of their first-round pick did not get a lot of burn during the year, but that shouldn’t be terribly surprising in hindsight.
The Steelers entered the draft process this year with eight draft picks, including the seven natural draft picks in each round, in addition to a compensatory draft pick in the sixth round, in addition to some notable undrafted free agent acquisitions.
Player: Tyler Murphy
Draft Status: Undrafted
Tyler Murphy had a fairly interesting season with the Steelers. He went from quarterback to wide receiver during the offseason, then back to quarterback, even taking a couple of snaps in the opening preseason game as a Wildcat quarterback, then went back to wide receiver.
Because of Martavis Bryant’s and Le’Veon Bell’s suspensions to start the regular season, Murphy was chosen to fill out the 53-man roster as the fifth wide receiver, but he was released after two games—after Bell’s suspension was up—which resulted in three games being played while the Steelers had just four wide receivers on the roster.
Murphy was then signed to the practice squad, releasing a previously signed wide receiver from the squad to take his place, but the undrafted rookie would find his way back onto the 53-man roster briefly after injuries mounted at the quarterback position.
During Ben Roethlisberger’s injury, which caused him to miss four games, his replacement, Mike Vick, also suffered a hamstring injury, leaving the Steelers with no backup for Landry Jones for the following game. Though Murphy was re-signed to the 53-man roster, his second stint would not be long.
He dressed that first game as Jones’ backup, but was inactive the following week, after which Roethlisberger returned, and he was subsequently released again after two weeks to promote Doran Grant from the practice squad.
Murphy proceeded to ride out the rest of the season on the team’s practice squad, but after the season, he did not re-sign with the Steelers on a Reserve/Future contract, whether that was of the Steelers’ choosing or on his part.
Either way, he subsequently signed a Reserve/Future contract with the Dolphins a couple weeks later. He finished his rookie season with the Steelers on the roster for four games, active for three, two as a wide receiver and two as a quarterback. He played seven snaps in garbage time in the season opener, recording a 16-yard reception that converted a fourth down. But he will not be back in Pittsburgh after all of that.