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Sophomore predictions: Trace McSorley

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Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

In this series, I will be analyzing each of the Ravens 2019 draft picks and predicting what fans should reasonably expect from each player during their second season.

With the 197th pick and their final of the 2019 NFL Draft, Baltimore selected Penn State QB Trace McSorley. With first-round pick Lamar Jackson entering his second season and veteran Robert Griffin III re-signed for two more years, McSorley entered the NFL as a third-stringer looking to claim a roster spot.

McSorley did just that as a rookie, riding the bench as the third-string QB for the Ravens while Jackson took the NFL by storm on his quest to unanimous MVP. While Griffin saw playing time in multiple games throughout the 2019 season, McSorley never received the opportunity. With no experience in the regular season, McSorley’s capabilities as an NFL quarterback remain unknown heading into his second season.

As an athletic dual-threat QB at Penn State, many predicted for McSorley to be used similarly to Taysom Hill of the Saints, meaning a do-it-all, swiss-army knife in all phases of the game. This never became reality, however, with McSorely purely receiving playing time at his natural position of quarterback in the preseason.

With the preseason being cut in half due to COVID-19 in 2020, players on the roster bubble will likely have less opportunity to present a case for belonging on the final roster, although it is unclear how much playing time starters will receive for Baltimore during the preseason. McSorely finished the 2019 preseason with four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown to two interceptions. While he displayed much promise for a sixth-round pick, he will have to show much more in 2020 to unseat Griffin as the backup to the reigning MVP.

Given a 10-man rookie class and a shortened preseason, I predict that McSorely will fall short of making the final roster and will instead land on the practice squad for the Ravens. McSorely is an interesting candidate as a long-term backup for Jackson, but moving on from the familiarity of Griffin and the value he brings to the team is not something I predict the team is willing to do just yet.

With several new players entering the fray this offseason, McSorley could find himself as the odd man out.