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Could Trace McSorley Become The Next Taysom Hill?

Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley built an impressive resume during his college career, rewriting the program’s recordbooks and leading some of the country’s best offenses. However, when he heard his name called in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft last weekend, it wasn’t necessarily because of his big arm.

The Baltimore Ravens suggested they were fascinated with the possibilities of using other facets of McSorley’s game to their advantage.

The winningest quarterback in Penn State’s history was largely recruited as a defensive back in high school, and he was even asked to work out at the position during the NFL Scouting Combine despite a stellar three-year term at the helm of the Nittany Lions’ offense.

The Ravens haven’t indicated they intend to use McSorley on defense at the start of his NFL career. However, the team’s decision to take a chance on McSorley just might create a situation similar to the one New Orleans Saints fans witnessed throughout the 2018 season.

“You saw what the Saints have done down there with their third quarterback,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “That’s something we’ll have a chance to do, too, with Trace. He’s going to be able to play special teams as well. You want players with roles, and he’s a guy that has a chance to have a big role for us.”

The “third quarterback” Harbaugh is referring to is Taysom Hill, who sat behind Drew Brees and Teddy Bridgewater in the quarterback room. Hill went undrafted after leading BYU to a 9-4 record in 2016 and signed on with Green Bay as an undrafted free agent. Despite a strong preseason with the Packers, Hill was cut just before the start of the 2017 season. New Orleans claimed him on waivers just one day after the Packers let him go, and it’s safe to say that decision paid off.

Head coach Sean Payton turned Hill into a Swiss Army knife for the Saints. Whether he was running the read option as a quarterback, stepping in at receiver, returning kicks, or adding a level of deceit on trick punt plays, Hill did it all for the Saints last year. He ran for 196 yards, threw for 64 more, and returned 14 kicks for 348 yards while making six tackles in special teams coverage.

There are plenty of similarities between McSorley and Hill’s situations. Like Hill, McSorley is currently projected as the Ravens’ third-string quarterback behind Lamar Jackson and Robert Griffin III. Both players are mobile quarterbacks who McSorley should mesh with nicely.

Hill ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash at BYU’s pro day in 2017, a few ticks better than McSorley whose 4.59 was the fastest time by a signal caller at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. At 6’2″, 221 pounds, Hill might have a bit more size than McSorley, but both are clearly willing to do whatever it takes to succeed at the next level.

“I feel I can be a quarterback, and my goal coming in is to compete and play the quarterback position,” McSorley said after being selected. “But I also know I can do some other things given the opportunity. I’m ready to go in and do anything the coaches ask me to do. I know I can do a lot of different things on the football field to make a team successful.”

Time will tell whether or not the Ravens actually utilize McSorley in a Taysom Hill-esque role. If Harbaugh sticks to his word, don’t be surprised to see one of the greatest quarterbacks in Penn State history line up as a receiver or on special teams…or sprinting down the sidelines on a fake punt.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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