Evaluating Trace McSorley’s Post-Combine Draft Stock
Trace McSorley’s journey to becoming Penn State football’s all-time leading passer was one filled with naysayers and doubters.
The former three-star prospect was recruited as a safety by a number of schools. James Franklin’s willingness to give McSorley a chance at his preferred position may be his best decision during his tenure with the Nittany Lions so far. McSorley threw for 9,899 yards and 77 touchdowns during his career at Penn State, and he also totaled 1,697 yards and an additional 30 scores on the ground.
He also performed well at the NFL Scouting Combine. McSorley’s 4.57-second 40-yard dash was the best among all quarterbacks participating in the event, and he also threw the ball effectively during passing drills.
However, McSorley’s impressive numbers and combine performance still haven’t silenced his doubters. At 6’0″ and 202 pounds, McSorley’s frame is undeniably small compared to the average NFL quarterback.
In addition to concerns over McSorley’s smaller stature, NFL talent evaluators have concerns over his arm talent and statistical regression this year. McSorley threw for 2,530 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, down from 3,570 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2017.
He had a difficult time finding the same chemistry he had with his receivers in 2018 — McSorley and the offense dealt with plenty of upheaval last offseason. Leading offensive options DaeSean Hamilton, Mike Gesicki, and Saquon Barkley all departed for the NFL, and offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead left Happy Valley for a head coaching gig at Mississippi State.
Still, the quarterback’s drop-off in production can’t be written off solely due to ineffective new weapons. McSorley missed open receivers on shorter timing routes due to occasional poor accuracy last season. Those receivers, of course, didn’t help him out much with a litany of dropped passes.
Another concern with the quarterback is his accuracy and arm strength on deep throws. NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein notes McSorley completed just 39 percent of deep throws with a tendency to overthrow, including some of his “arm talent” passes that “will turn sour” against NFL defenses.
If McSorley is going to win over NFL scouts, he’ll need to answer questions about his ability as a passer. Despite his impressive combine performance, McSorley is facing an uphill battle to get selected in the NFL Draft in late April due to those questions surrounding his size and arm talent. If he does get selected, he’ll most likely land in either the sixth or seventh round of this year’s draft.
McSorley’s best opportunity to give his draft stock a boost will be at Penn State’s pro day on Tuesday, March 19. A strong performance at Holuba could solidify the quarterback’s selection in this year’s draft.
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About the Author
Clifford will take the job left vacant by Trace McSorley, who went 31-9 as the Nittany Lions’ QB1 in three seasons at the helm of the team’s offense.
2019 seems to break a trend for Penn State football, which usually named just three captains per season (one on offense, defense, and special teams).
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