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Penn State Football: McSorley Looks Sharp At Pro Day

by on March 19, 2019 3:20 PM

Of the 1,215 passes Trace McSorley has thrown in his collegiate career, it would be hard to argue that the few dozen he slung down the field during Penn State's Pro Day on Tuesday morning were more important.

But in the world of the NFL, where everyone is under the microscope, where heights are measured to the partial inch and wingspans and fingertips analyzed down to the fingernail, everything matters.

So it was good news as McSorley tossed completion after completion to a handful of receivers. Of the several dozen passes he threw, only four or five were dropped. It was a far cry from a tumultuous 2018 season when seemingly every other pass found the ground. If there were any doubts who might be to fault for the Nittany Lions' decline in pass production, McSorley certainly made the case Tuesday that it wasn't his blame to shoulder alone.

And for the first time in over half a decade, McSorley, a Penn State quarterback, took a snap under center.

"Oh sure, now you do it," James Franklin laughed towards his former quarterback as McSorley practiced his footwork.

"I haven't done it [in a game] in a long time, but it's something I've always been working on," McSorley said after his workout with a slight smile.

All of the inside jokes aside, McSorley still has his doubters. He still is not as tall as the prototypical NFL quarterback, he still isn't quite as strong, and while his quickness is better than most, it has a limited utility in more traditional NFL schemes. He's working with quarterback guru Ken Mastrole to maximize the tools he does have, hoping to maximize the opportunities he will have to showcase them down the road.

So in its own way every throw mattered, every completion another argument for McSorley, every long toss into the outstretched arms of Miles Sanders or DeAndre Thompkins a strike for, not again, the Virginia native.

But stress? As if McSorley is ever really stressed.

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"At the end of the day the games probably mean a little bit more," McSorley said. "It's football, but you don't have 11 guys rushing at you, you don't have different things to deal with. To me it was just coming out and having some fun with the receivers, Just going out and cutting loose and letting it fly. Pressure wise, there is obviously a lot riding on it, but there's a lot riding on [the games] overall the games probably mattered a lot more, but I didn't feel much pressure today."

As from the circulating reports that teams have been tempted to try McSorley at defensive back, his old position in high school, it's quarterback or nothing for McSorley, even if he takes the potential change as a compliment.

If you really believe that he's taking it all in stride and not actually annoyed by the prospect is up to you.

"I tend to view it more as a compliment to my athletic ability, "McSorley said. " I can come out and do so many different things, you only have a 53-man roster so if there is a guy who can come out and do a couple different things that could be a benefit. Obviously for me, I feel like I'm a quarterback. And it does kind of put a chip on my shoulder that teams don't want to see me do that, and maybe they don't believe that and that's fine, that's their belief. But in my heart and in my mind I'm a quarterback and that's where I laid my groundwork. That's what I did in high school, that's what I did in college and put in all the hard work behind the scenes that nobody has seen me do.

"I didn't take it as a sign of disrespect, but it did kind of put a chip on my shoulder for sure."

Ask teammate and defensive back Amani Oruwariye if wanting McSorley to dress on the other side of ball is okay, and he's a little less politically correct about it.

"I just thought it was disrespectful, he's a quarterback," Oruwariye said.

In the grand scheme, McSorley will find a home in the NFL come this fall. He will get his shot at the next level be it a practice squad, a backup role or otherwise. He's too good not to in a league that is always looking for the next big thing.

And that chip will still be there like it always has.

And so far, he has yet to prove his doubters right.

 

 



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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