2019 NFL Draft: Can Trace McSorley translate to the NFL?

2019 NFL Draft projections on Trace McSorley are all over the place

Trace McSorley enters the 2019 NFL Draft process as one of college football’s most electrifying and consistent players. Since taking over for Christian Hackenberg in the TaxSlayer Bowl in January 2016, he’s been the quiet leader for the nationally ranked Nittany Lions.

Electrifying players don’t always translate to the NFL, whether they be a Heisman winning quarterback or a 2,000 yard running back. Is McSorley another flashy system quarterback or someone who can translate into the NFL?

If McSorley has done one thing in college football, it’s playing big under the lights. While he didn’t secure a victory in a shootout against USC in the Rose Bowl, he threw for 254 yards and contributed to five touchdowns, one thanks to his legs.

He was even better in the Fiesta Bowl against a stout Washington Huskies team, throwing for 342 yards in the 35-28 victory.

Penn State is 16-3 against Big Ten opponents under McSorley, and lost two of those games by a combined four points.

In 33 career games McSorley is the program passing touchdown leader with 59, 11 more than Hackenberg, and is less than 1,100 yards behind his predecessor for the all-time passing yard record.

Statistically, McSorley has already established himself as one of Penn State’s all-time greats, a daunting task for a storied program entering its 125th season.

When watching McSorley, there’s a different story when it comes to translating to the NFL.

McSorley has some of the loudest feet I have ever seen, meaning they’re constantly moving unsynched.

 

When his footwork is in rhythm, he can deliver beautiful throws like this touchdown to Dolphins second round pick Mike Gesicki.

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Even on that throw, he adds a couple extra steps.

Often times McSorley can throw the ball over receivers, which could be fixed with refined footwork. Luckily for him, his receivers did a great job adjusting to the ball last year.

Mobility and escapability are another big part of McSorley’s game, and Penn State gives him an opportunity to use his athleticism to their advantage.

Last season McSorley rushed the ball more than half as many times as Saquon Barkley and had more carries than Barkley’s backups combined with 114 attempts and 491 yards. He rushed for 11 touchdowns, 9 of which were for nine yards or fewer.

Standing at 6′ 200 lbs McSorley is only an inch and 20 lbs smaller than first-overall pick Baker Mayfield. I still struggle to see McSorley make it work in the NFL, and see him as a Julian Edelman converted receiver.

McSorley will surely be drafted at some point in the 2019 NFL Draft, but whether he remains at quarterback is to be seen.