Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley is one of the NCAA’s top returning players at the position and an early Heisman Trophy favorite. With 7389 passing yards, 59 touchdown passes and just 18 interceptions it’s easy to see why there is so much hype for the young passer heading into the 2018-19 season. However, all this attention does raise one question in particular, does McSorley have a future as an NFL quarterback?
When evaluating McSorley’s NFL prospects the one issue that seems to be generally agreed upon is his lack of prototypical size. Listed at 6’0, 195 pounds, it is commonly believed McSorley is actually smaller than his listed measurables, raising questions about his ability to handle the higher physical demands that come in the NFL.
Undoubtedly there is some logic behind this, however, I would argue the issue of size is one that is overblown. Sure, everyone loves the player with the standard NFL size, but the fact is, in today’s NFL, size is not as important as once thought. Defensive schemes have become spread out so much over time that offensive lines have adjusted and now it is up to quarterbacks to see passing lanes as opposed to seeing over their protection.
Another common criticism of McSorley has centered on his lack of top-end arm strength. While he can make solid downfield throws he often has to adjust his trajectory leading to balls that float in the air that NFL defenders will take advantage of every time. In an offense that asks him to consistently take vertical shots downfield, McSorley would certainly struggle to adjust.
So, if McSorley is smaller than a typical prospect and lacks the arm strength to compensate for it, what exactly does he have that makes him a legitimate NFL prospect? Well, ladies and gentlemen, it comes down to one word: accuracy. McSorley shines when asked to throw with anticipation and has consistently displayed the ability to fit passes into tight windows on short to intermediate routes. In an NFL where defenses are faster than ever, accuracy is a premium asset and McSorley has plenty of it.
So where does all of this lead when discussing McSorley’s NFL future? It’s a bit of a tricky question but based on my early evaluations, McSorley is somebody who probably lacks the tools to ever truly shine as an NFL starter but has the grit, accuracy, and mobility to stick around as a solid No. 2 option in an offense based on short passes and a strong running game. He’s not the most exciting possible 2019 Draft entrant, but McSorley should have some kind of NFL future ahead of him.