Eric DeCosta’s first draft is in the books.
The General Manager closed out the 2019 NFL Draft by selecting Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley with pick No. 197.
“This was kind of a sleeper pick for us,” DeCosta said. “We brought him in for the local pro day. We worked him out and fell in love with the kid.”
McSorley, 6-foot-0 and 202 pounds, is a dual-threat quarterback who could be a good fit behind starter Lamar Jackson. He was a three-year starter at Penn State who threw for 9,899 yards and 77 touchdowns in his college career. He also rushed for 1,697 yards and 30 career touchdowns.
McSorley will join veteran Robert Griffin III as options to backup Jackson. The Ravens also indicated that they could find creative ways to get McSorley on the field both on offense and special teams, similar to what they did with Jackson last year before he became the starter.
“It’s just going to be really fun to create different opportunities for these guys to get on the field in different ways,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “We see him fitting in as a quarterback, first of all. That’s what we told him. We told him six weeks ago that you’re going to be a quarterback and that’s where it begins.
“But it shouldn’t be limited to that. I think he can go out there and line up and do some other things, just like [Griffin] will be able to do.”
A potential comparison for McSorley is Saints backup quarterback Taysom Hill. He’s used in a variety of roles – quarterback, receiver, running back and special teams – and the Ravens like that McSorley’s athleticism gives them versatility to put him in similar roles.
“You’ve seen what the Saints have done down there with their third quarterback, and that’s something that we’ll have a chance to do too,” Harbaugh said.
McSorley, who grew up in Ashburn, Va., was clearly emotional when he received the call from the Ravens. He told Baltimore reporters that he was up late Friday thinking about the possibility of getting drafted, and the emotion poured out once he received that call.
“To get that call is something I’ve been dreaming about for a long time,” McSorley said. “To be able to get it from an organization like Baltimore, to be able to play not too far from home, to have an organization with the front office and coaches they have, I’m super excited.”
McSorley was a highly productive player in the college ranks, but he slid to the sixth-round partly because he doesn’t have the ideal size of an NFL quarterback. He was actually asked to work out at receiver and defensive back at the combine, but he stressed that his focus is to become a quarterback at the next level.
Jackson went through similar questions last year, and McSorley pointed to him as a bit of inspiration for the way he’s proved people wrong by having success as an NFL quarterback.
“He’s a great player,” McSorley said. “A lot of people said he might want to change positions and he stuck to his guns and he ended up leading them to the playoffs last year, and I think he’s a tremendous athlete, dynamic player, and great leader, and I’m looking forward to being able to learn from him.”
The Ravens carried three quarterbacks on the active roster throughout last season, and adding McSorley indicates they could go that route again in 2019.
“He’s a very versatile athlete we can do a lot of different things with, and we think his skillset really does fit what we’re trying to accomplish on offense,” DeCosta said. “He was very excited and I think relieved to be picked, and this is a really good spot for him.”
The Penn State quarterback capped off Baltimore’s draft class after a standout college career.