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According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, there was only one NFL player to play double-digit snaps at quarterback and wide receiver in the same game last season.
New Orleans’s Taysom Hill carried the ball 10 times for 61 yards, caught a pass, and completed his only passing attempt of the day when the Saints beat the Raiders last year.
And, there’s a player on the Patriots roster who Reiss says could end up having a similar role for New England.
The Patriots have been working out Malik Cunningham, who played quarterback at Louisville, mostly at receiver. He’s also spent time on special teams as a gunner, using his speed to chase down returners.
But, it was Cunningham’s performance at quarterback in New England’s preseason-opening loss to the Texans that got the hype train rolling for him.
“Cunningham has generated early momentum to be a Hill-type option for the Patriots, even working as a gunner on the punt coverage team,” Reiss wrote.
After the Patriots struggled to move the ball with any kind of consistency, Cunningham went 3-of-4 and scored New England’s only touchdown of the game on a 9-yard keeper for a touchdown.
Cunningham is “electric” with the football in his hands, Patriots receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said after practice last week. Special teams ace Matthew Slater says he respects Cunnigham for his work ethic because he’s a quarterback who is willing to take reps on special teams.
Cunningham brings “another element” to the offense, receiver Kendrick Bourne said.
“He can turn a bad play into a home run and a special play quicker than just about anyone I’ve seen, especially at the quarterback position,” Louisville offensive coordinator Lance Taylor told Reiss in May. “He’s so unique with his skill set.”
The ability to play quarterback and receiver in the NFL is a rare one. According to Reiss, only three players including Hill have played 50 snaps at both positions in a season over the past 15 years.
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