The Ravens entered the 2019 NFL Draft with a few obvious needs. They addressed many of those early on, including two wide receivers, a pass-rusher, an explosive running back, and an interior offensive lineman.
One position many fans didn’t expect to see drafted by the purple and black was quarterback. Lamar Jackson is entering his second season in Baltimore, and the Ravens re-signed Robert Griffin III to be his backup. With Joe Flacco as QB1, the team rarely rostered a third quarterback, but it looks like that’s exactly what they’re planning for the near future.
Eric DeCosta surprised fans with his selection of Penn State QB Trace McSorley in the sixth round, the team’s final pick of the year. Many questioned what the need was for a third-string quarterback. According to the Ravens front office, McSorley’s role will be a bit more involved than that.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh to @richeisen on Trace McSorley joining Lamar Jackson and RG3 in the QB room: "I guess we could put 3 QBs on the field."— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 27, 2019
Harbaugh said the plan is to play McSorley on special teams, which the two have already spoken about.
McSorley has taken an interesting path to the NFL, and was one of NBC Sports Washington's featured players in its recent "I Am The Prospect" video series.
It’s not too common to see an NFL quarterback playing receiver or running back at times, let alone special teams. But it’s also not as rare as you might think. The ideal comparison in today’s league is Taysom Hill of the New Orleans Saints.
In 2018, Hill attempted seven passes, was targeted as a receiver seven times, and rushed 37 times. He also returned 14 kickoffs and one punt.
Could McSorley play a Swiss Army Knife role for the Ravens in the same vein? It seems like that’s what head coach John Harbaugh is hoping for.
DeCosta said the common denominator of the best offenses is speed. "We saw what Lamar could do last year. Our collective vision was to add more guys like that to make it really challenging on the defense."— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) April 27, 2019
It’s impossible to deny the Ravens’ focus in this year’s draft was team speed. Players like Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Justice Hill are proof positive of that, and McSorley fits along those same lines.
Adding speed gives this franchise a dimension they’ve rarely, if ever, had, and McSorley’s versatility will likely play a big role in that. At the very least, he and the Ravens are having fun imagining the possibilities.
As Harbaugh put it when asked about the possibility of seeing three passers on the field at the same time in 2019, “Hey, why not? Even our quarterbacks are fast.”
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