Stop right there.
I fear that you read that headline and assumed this was going to be some rant about why McSorley has NFL stardom in his future based off the fact that he’s the most prolific quarterback in Penn State history. This isn’t that.
I’m not going to break down a bunch of Penn State film and explain why I think NFL teams are sleeping on him. The arm strength and accuracy aren’t where they need to be. If McSorley is ever going to start an NFL game, it’ll be because he makes tremendous strides and he catches a few breaks.
But yeah, NFL teams who asked McSorley to work out at safety are going about this all wrong.
In case you missed it, NFL teams asked the guy who spent 5 seasons as a quarterback if he wouldn’t mind working out on the other side of the ball doing something he hasn’t done since high school. Saquon Barkley wasn’t a fan, and neither was I. I could bore you about how rarely that works out with making a quarterback change positions, much less to the other side of the ball.
Instead I’ll point out something that at least a few NFL teams have clearly not thought through as it relates to McSorley.
This is the perfect guy to have in a quarterback room in this run-pass option era of the NFL.
McSorley can add waaaaaay more value to a team doing that than trying to learn how to play a vastly different position at the next level. With all due respect to McSorley, who has proven plenty of people wrong throughout his career to get to where he’s at, I don’t see the upside in him as a safety.
Where there’s potential is being someone who has tons of experience running a system that more and more NFL teams are transitioning to. Whether that’s as a practice team guy or as a No. 3 on the depth chart, I have zero doubt that he’ll find a way to add value to whatever team drafts him. As long as it’s as a quarterback.
And who knows? It would probably take a lot for McSorley to see the field in a regular season NFL game anytime soon, but if he was thrust into that role, you could do worse than the dude who played in front of 106,000 people most Saturdays during his record-setting 3-year career at one of the most high-profile programs in America.
Just a thought.
If an NFL team drafts McSorley to be a defensive back, they’re wasting equity. They’re reverting to the same 20th century approach that held NFL offenses back far too long.
I’ve thought about how interesting of a draft prospect McSorley could’ve been had he lived up to those preseason Baker Mayfield comps before 2018 (they were always a bit flawed because Mayfield’s arm strength and accuracy were all-world level). At least from a production standpoint, what if McSorley was a Heisman contender as a senior and it coincided with Mayfield’s NFL rise? We wouldn’t be talking about him like Kyler Murray, but I guarantee we wouldn’t be talking about him as a possible safety.
We still shouldn’t be talking about McSorley as a safety. He was right to decline working out there. Barkley was right about it being disrespectful. It’s disrespectful to waste all of McSorley’s experience as a quarterback on his ability to do what, probably play on special teams if he’s lucky to make an NFL roster?
Nah. Let McSorley sit in that quarterback room and help bring some perspective. Let him simulate looks when teams with RPO-heavy offenses like Philadelphia and Baltimore are on the schedule. Let him be one of those little, overlooked things that helps a team reach the playoffs.
That’s what I believe McSorley can be at the next level, whether the accuracy improves a ton or not. He can still satisfy a need that teams are looking for more and more. Well, at least they should be.
I don’t want to hear people like Sean Payton say he wonders if he can become the next Julian Edelman. I want to hear people like Payton say he wonders if McSorley can become the next Taysom Hill.
However teams evaluate McSorley, they shouldn’t be thinking “we don’t think he can be the next Mayfield, so what’s the point?” He’s not the next Mayfield, and maybe he’s not the next Hill, either.
But goodness, man. Let’s chill with the lazy position slotting and get a little smarter about this.
And by “we,” I mean anyone who’s dumb enough to think that McSorley is more valuable on a 2019 roster as a defensive back than as a quarterback.