Ravens Draft Penn State QB Trace McSorley to Compete as Lamar Jackson's Backup

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2019

Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley throws a pass against Kentucky during the first half of the Citrus Bowl NCAA college football game, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

Trace McSorley bet on himself by refusing to work out at positions other than quarterback.

That gamble paid off Saturday, as the Baltimore Ravens selected him with the No. 197 selection during the sixth round of the 2019 NFL draft.

Jeff Zrebiec @jeffzrebiec

With their sixth-round pick, the Ravens are picking Penn State QB Trace McSorley. Eric DeCosta had said that if they are going to carry three QBs, the QB is going to have to do other things.

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

This is a really interesting pick. Could he play special teams? Receiver? https://t.co/5v8mv39AoP

Bryan Fischer @BryanDFischer

Talk about a heck of a tandem in the Baltimore QB room with Lamar Jackson and Trace McSorley.

Ken McKusick @FilmstudyRavens

Trace McSorley is an interesting pick. I think he'll have to be playing a slash role or possibly head to IR for the year. I don't think othewise the @Ravens will keep 3 QBs on the roster. #RavensFlock

Ross Tucker @RossTuckerNFL

LOVE the Ravens pick of Trace McSorley for so many reasons.

Mike Clay @MikeClayNFL

Ravens draft Trace McSorley...yes, I'd say they're committed to running the ball as often as possible

PFF BAL Ravens @PFF_Ravens

With their 6th round pick, the #Ravens selected Trace McSorley out of Penn State! The team is clearly adding some athletes into this offense. #RavensFlock https://t.co/klgSJYJXrQ

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

Penn State QB Trace McSorley sure sounds like a fit with the #Ravens, who just took him in the 6th round. https://t.co/EHf4TToeuA https://t.co/JsqrOUaZia

Dwayne Haskins, Jr🌹 @dh_simba7

Yessirrrr bro @McSorley_IX

The 23-year-old was a three-year starter, resetting the Penn State Nittany Lions' record book. He owns the school record for passing yards and passing touchdowns while setting numerous single-season and single-game marks.

Penn State won at least nine games in each of McSorley's three seasons as a starter and played in two New Year's Six bowls. He was the MVP of the 2016 Big Ten Championship Game and 2017 Fiesta Bowl.

Penn State head coach James Franklin told reporters ahead of McSorley's final game:

"Trace McSorley is what you want in all of your players. You love him because he is the same guy every single day. The guy has not had a bad day in five years. ... He is going to be a great teammate, always a class act, unbelievable with the community, compete like hell on Saturday, and he's going to prepare like nobody else. I think he is a great model for all of our young players and I think he is a great model for college football in general, just about how you go about your business."

While few questioned McSorley's leadership qualities, his ability to be an NFL quarterback is open to debate. His completion percentage dropped from 66.5 in 2017 to 53.2 in 2018, and he is both risky with the ball and lacks downfield accuracy.

There are some concerns about his size at 6'1" and 205 pounds, but with Kyler Murray coming off the board at No. 1 overall, the tepid reviews of McSorley as a quarterback come down almost entirely to his lack of accuracy.

NFL teams asked him to compete with defensive backs at the combine, but he declined. It's unclear if he'll wind up playing at a different position in the NFL.

His 4.57-second 40-yard dash was the best among quarterbacks at the combine and would have ranked in the middle of the pack among defensive backs and receivers.

Players such as Julian Edelman have transitioned from quarterback to successful careers at other positions, but McSorley has been committed to playing quarterback for now.

If Baltimore sees him as an Edelman type, this could be a good gamble.