The name of the game is having versatile players who can do multiple jobs for a team. Guys who can run and catch the ball offensively, or rush the passer and drop into coverage defensively are worth their weight in gold. However, the NFL may be seeing a new trend: athletic college quarterbacks who can do a little bit of everything. There haven’t been too many example of these guys just yet, but the Baltimore Ravens nabbed one in the 2019 NFL Draft in Penn State’s Trace McSorley.
McSorley, a three-year starter at Penn State and two-year captain for the Nittany Lions (2017, 2018), proved to be one of college football’s finest quarterbacks during his stint in Happy Valley. While his play did decline following the departure of running back Saquon Barkley to the NFL, he never lost his athleticism; a part of his game that will make his NFL career one to watch.
What makes Trace McSorley such an interesting case study is that there are almost no other examples of players like him. The best comparison, and one that has been said a billion times since the end of January, is to tje New Orleans Saints’ weapon Taysom Hill. Hill, similarly to McSorley, was a productive college quarterback at BYU who had supreme athleticism but not the arm talent to be an NFL quarterback. Hill wound up going undrafted in 2017, but he found himself a significant role with the Saints in 2018.
New Orleans was brilliant enough to recognize the mismatch that Hill provided them thanks to his intangibles and quarterbacking history. This allowed them to throw him onto the field and run all sorts of trick plays and unorthodox offensive lineups. The Saints even used Hill on kickoff returns from time-to-time. This may seem crazy, but the fact of the matter is that it was a successful experiment. Naturally, the rest of the NFL will want to copy them.
Now the decision for Baltimore to draft a quarterback in 2019 isn’t so crazy. It’s not because the team has questions with their current quarterback stable. Instead, it’s because the Ravens recognize the rare opportunity they have to turn Trace McSorley into a weapon most teams dream of having.