In the realm of football and the NFL, it’s currently one of the most insane times of the year: combine season. Sports writers, GMs and coaches all make the annual pilgrimage to the holy land of Indianapolis, forget their basic understandings of how society normally work, and try to determine the superstar potential of former collegiate based on their ability to bench, or how they answer questions about their sexual identity and accusations of their mother being a prostitute. You know, totally normal shit.
Sometimes, those with actual decision-making powers within a team will determine that a prospect has spent the last 2+ years in the wrong position, and will try to get him to see the light in an entirely new role through a variety of workouts that the player is not accustomed to doing. This phenomenon truly came to a head last year when a lot of dumb people tried to get Heisman-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson to become a wide receiver. There isn’t a position controversy of that level in this year’s draft, but that didn’t stop some folks from trying to make one. The NFL Draft’s Twitter account posted a list of prospects who were asked to work out in a second position. The most notable name is Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley being asked to work out as a defensive back.
McSorley just finished a career with the Nittany Lions where he threw for 9,899 yards, 77 touchdowns (he also rushed for 30) and completed 59.3 percent of his passes. He was selected second-team All-Big Ten by coaches and the Associated Press and was a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award. He’s only one year removed from a season where he threw 3570 yards, 28 touchdowns and completed an incredible 66.5 percent of his passes.
AND STILL someone saw all of these numbers and awards, supposedly gobbled up some semblance of game tape and thought, “you know, this guy could be pretty decent in our secondary in a couple seasons.” Think for a second about your favorite team’s third- or fourth-best receiver. Now imagine a pretty good Big Ten quarterback trying his best to cover him. McSorley would make someone like Will Snead IV look like Reggie Wayne on the field. Yes, he played defensive back in high school, but when the last collection of receivers you’ve covered were at an age where prom held an unfathomable level of importance in their lives, it doesn’t bode well for your potential. That being said, I’m totally for some team investing lots of time and money into this absolutely disastrous idea.
This almost makes the idea that some teams want two defensive tackles to become linebackers all of a sudden seem tame. Is Ed Oliver a top draft talent in this year’s class? Yes. Will he have much, if any, success at the next level in the middle of the field trying to shadow Saquon Barkley on a flat route? Definitely not. Somewhere, a reserve tight end is probably licking his chops at the thought of having Dre’Mont Jones defending him.
Just another reminder that most of the folks judging these players have no idea what they’re doing.