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Projecting Where Trace McSorley Will Land After Day 1 of 2019 NFL Draft

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 26, 2019

Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

The first day of the 2019 NFL draft is complete, and Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley is still on the board. 

It's not surprising to see the 23-year-old fall outside the top 32. He ranked as the 15th-best quarterback in this class, per B/R's Matt Miller. 

McSorley left Penn State as the program's all-time leader with 9,899 passing yards, 77 passing touchdowns and 30 rushing touchdowns as a quarterback. He also tied Ohio State star and Washington Redskins first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins in Pro Football Focus' big-time throw metric last season:

PFF Draft @PFF_College

Both Trace McSorley and Dwayne Haskins registered 24 Big-Time Throws this season, leading B1G quarterbacks. If you want to know more about what Big-Time Throws are, check out the link below. https://t.co/UngU0zzQDI https://t.co/rImFUNlsFU

During the NFL scouting combine, ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold reported McSorley declined when he was asked to work out with the defensive backs because he wanted to focus on playing quarterback. 

McSorley told reporters he has the intangibles and talent to be a successful NFL signal-caller. 

"Obviously, the intangibles are a big story, a big part of who I am, but I'm a football player," he said. "I can go out and make all the throws and run really well, and because of my intangibles, I think people tend to overlook my physical attributes."

McSorley had an ally in former Penn State teammate Saquon Barkley:

Saquon Barkley @saquon

So disrespectful... https://t.co/7fZEYlmVxx

One reason McSorley generated interest at defensive back is he's undersized for a quarterback. The Nittany Lions star measured at 6'0" and 202 pounds during the combine. 

When Penn State held its pro day, McSorley showed solid accuracy during his throwing session:

Mike Kaye @mike_e_kaye

#PennState QB Trace McSorley completed 49-of-53 passes (on my count, may have skipped a log of a completion or two to take video). He had two high passes that went incomplete, a bad drop by a non-PSU WR and an out of bounds throw that was caught with one foot inbounds in RZ.

Accuracy is one of the biggest question marks for McSorley. He was all over the place in that category in college, with just one season over 60 percent (66.5 in 2017). 

There is a good starter kit in McSorley's skill set for an NFL team to build around. His going to a club with an established quarterback who can mentor him for one or two years will go a long way toward getting him on the right path to being considered for a starting job. 

A team like the Detroit Lions would make for a solid fit. Matthew Stafford is signed through 2022, but he's also 31 years old and hasn't led them to a playoff win in three postseason appearances. 

If the Lions want to cut ties with Connor Cook as their backup, McSorley can step into the role immediately. They could also draft him for their third-team unit as a rookie, with the potential to elevate him to the No. 2 spot in 2020. 

McSorley's wait could extend to Saturday because there are still other quarterbacks available who likely rate higher than him. Teams looking for help at the position will presumably go after Missouri's Drew Lock, Auburn's Jarrett Stidham, West Virginia's Will Grier and Buffalo's Tyree Jackson in Rounds 2 and 3. 

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