Despite a productive, winning, all-time college profile, Penn State football quarterback Trace McSorley has an uphill battle to climb ahead of NFL Draft.
Few quarterbacks entering the 2019 NFL Draft have the kind of college résumé that Penn State football quarterback Trace McSorley has. He put up big numbers, won and fought with competitiveness at the Power five level for three seasons, proving doubters wrong along the way. The QB came from nowhere in high school to wow the college football world and will now have to do the same to NFL scouts.
Unfortunately for McSorley, a lot works against the program’s all-time leading passer when being evaluated by pro teams. First off (even though I find this to be a stupid way of evaluating quarterbacks, but the NFL is archaic), his size is far from ideal at 6-feet, 201 pounds.
With that said, size is not weighted as heavy as it used to be in the league. Shorter quarterbacks succeed at a high clip just like prototypical passers. Active passers Drew Brees, Baker Mayfield and Russell Wilson debunked the theory about short QBs being unable to succeed in the NFL.
This is where his mobility comes into play. His athleticism to take off and make a play when no one is open feels like the aforementioned players, except better. Not one of those three guys ever put up the numbers McSorley did in the run game. When he takes off, he’s dangerous, and his competitive fire to go and get extra yards reminds many of Mayfield and how he inspired his team.
Not only that, his ability to sense pressure and escape it to open a passing lane has an even greater impact. Even though the Nittany Lions didn’t carry a strong offensive line at times in his career, McSorley bailed them out of trouble a lot with sensational scrambles.
As a passer, McSorley has some holes in his game. He never showed consistent accuracy with the football over his three years. When he had top-tier receiving talent around him, he connected better, boasting a career-high 66.5-percent of his passes in 2017. While completion percentage is far from the only way to evaluate accuracy, it does hold significant weight when its a below average, 53.2, in 2018.
This past year, the veteran talent surrounding him didn’t show up and ended up dropping a huge chunk of his passes. That stat obviously helps him explain the major dip in completion percentage, but the severe overthrows or under throws on other passes won’t.
At points, he struggled to find his rhythm and that could be for a multitude of reasons, but the NFL will see the slow inefficient starts to games versus Rutgers or Kentucky and want to know what happened. Some can be attributed to an injury-riddled campaign.
When he had players like Chris Godwin and Mike Gesicki, who could go and get the ball with a large catch radius, they came down with it. Regardless, he’s found impressive success through the air before and can again. Even in a down 2018, he still put up the lowest interception total of his career, throwing only seven to his 18 TD passes.
The arm talent is there. McSorley can get the ball to receivers quickly and hit short-to-medium routes with the right power behind the throw. Even though his small stature doesn’t usually bode a strong arm, his tight body, much like Mayfield can come around the ball quickly to zip throws in. Once healthy, he’ll show more than ever, he’s got the arm and accuracy to play in the league.
A lot of the stock is still up for discussion with the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine still to come, but with his numbers, wins and leadership, he’s going to get drafted. Some have said late in the sixth or seventh round, but these projections won’t be fully ironed out until he goes through all the workouts.
He has a chance to definitely improve his stock over the next couple months. One thing is for sure, his film and impact on the program speak for themselves.