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Trace McSorley

Scouting Report done by Mark Jarvis. See all his work at What’s on Draft. Support his work on Patreon.  See the full Trace McSorley report here.

Comps – Low/Medium/High

Fredi Knighten (Low) – Phillip Ely (Medium) – Cody Fajardo (High)


Coming into the 2018 season I had a summer grade on McSorley that had somewhat high expectations. His 2017 tape reminded me of Baker Mayfield prior to his senior year leap forward. However, the trajectory that McSorley has taken is vastly different from the trajectory that Mayfield took. Mayfield began to process things quicker during his last season at Oklahoma, but the opposite seems to have happened with McSorley at Penn State. Although McSorley did not turn over the ball or make throws that were high risk, he was unable to move the ball consistently. The Penn State offense ran through Miles Sanders legs, and McSorley was not trusted to make big plays. Not only did he regress in terms of decision making, he also dropped off with his accuracy. The only place where he seems comfortable throwing an accurate ball is in the short game between the hashes. When passes go beyond 15-20 yards downfield they become uncatchable on nearly all of his attempts. His passes missed both from sputtering into the dirt and sailing over the head of his target. His misplacement was a problem both from the pocket and while rolling towards the sideline. He can find checkdowns here and there, but generally does not throw unless his first read is clearly open. He became a much more timid thrower in 2018 compared to previous years, as he was unwilling to risk throwing into traffic. This lack of decisiveness and unwillingness to go downfield made the offense immobile at times. There are droughts in his tape where he couldn’t buy a first down, either through the air or with his legs. Despite having plenty of runs on his resume, he is not an impressive scrambler. There is enough speed to get yardage up the middle, but he won’t dodge guys in a collapsing pocket or make plays out of structure. There have been some suggestions in the media that McSorley should convert to another position such as safety, but this is an unlikely move due to his poor acceleration and agility. Mechanically speaking he shares many of the same concerns that most undersized quarterbacks deal with. His release point is low, risking getting batted at the line of scrimmage. His setup does not maximize his limited arm talent, as he relies on his arm to generate power rather than starting with his base and footwork. His release doesn’t have much whip to it, and taking a tad too long to get off.

Reads & Decisions

Did not often get beyond his first read unless the play was extended with his legs. Looked out of control and lacking in poise in regards to his decisions. Holds onto the ball too long waiting for his man to open up, and panics if the throw never becomes available. Does not anticipate the route break opening up quick enough to overcome arm limitations. Willing to check to a second option when he is not pressured, but his process falls out the window when structure fails. Occasionally draws away the safeties and linebackers with his eyes, but it isn’t frequent. Starts to play skiddish when his offensive line fails him throughout a game. Lacks the aggression necessary to test hole shots downfield. Post-snap processing will need to take big leaps forward. Offense at Penn State was gimmicky.

Accuracy & Ball Placement

Ball placement in the short game is acceptable, but falls off dramatically as he is forced to go deep. Lacks touch on his throws, and does not show control over varying trajectories. Downfield placement is downright atrocious at times; underthrows his targets by an unacceptable amount. Doesn’t lead his man into space; rarely provides opportunities for yards after the catch. Passes aren’t easy catches; forces his receivers to all across their frame to bring in his throws. Intermediate and deep passes are usually uncatchable and miss by multiple yards. Seemed to lack on-field chemistry with his receivers as a senior. Passes aren’t at a contained height; dirts one then sails the next over heads. Does not win against leveraging as a passer; throws to the defender’s side.

Pocket Awareness & Scrambling

Height is clearly an issue that will prevent him from finding passing lanes. Won’t back out of throws even with a hit coming. Easy out for almost every pass-rusher; does not have the strength to fight through contact in the backfield. Struggles to elude free rushers. Was used frequently as a runner during his time with the Nittany Lions. Enough gas to take off up the middle and find yardage with his legs, although he doesn’t have breakaway speed. Willing to slide to avoid unnecessary damage. Exits the pocket and works towards the sideline if things break down. Athleticism is average and he should not be considered for position changes. Reliance on run game in college isn’t translatable. All or nothing approach to pocket movement leads him into trouble. Panics when his clock starts ringing.

Mechanics & Throwing Motion

Release height is a concern given his size issues. Does not come over the top and get the ball over traffic with his throwing path. Won’t drive off of his base hard, instead preferring to go all arm on his throws. Has a windup to his release that could have windows closing on him when the game speeds up. Tends to swing wide on his throws rather than staying tight with his form. Feet are quick enough to restabilize his platform prior to throws. Weight transfer does not generate power; simply shifting from one foot to another rather than driving forward onto lead foot. Unnatural with his initial set; jumps into his foot stance at times. Susceptible to having his passes batted at the line of scrimmage. Able to adjust arm angles to account for pressure in his face. Ball comes off hand rough.

Arm Strength

Doesn’t incorporate his lower body into throws, causing many of his passes to drop dead halfway through the air. Can’t stretch the field or make difficult “”NFL caliber”” throws. Ball does not cut through the air or deal well with the elements. Throws tend to wobble and shake on their way to the target. Could improve his arm with adjustments with footwork, but it will likely always be below the standards for the pros. Will get jumped on his throws to the sideline as a result of mediocre velocity. Arm strength does not shift much either way when forced to throw on the move.”

Categories: 2019, QB, Scouting report