INDIANAPOLIS -- NFL clubs do plenty to put draft prospects outside their comfort zones at the NFL Scouting Combine, from early wake-up calls to mind-bending interview questions, to tweaks in position drills that create some differential between what prospects prepare for in training and what they're asked to do in Indianapolis.
But nothing else quite stretches a prospect's bounds like being asked to perform drills at two different positions.
And within that group, perhaps nobody was thrown further outside the box this year than former Penn State QB Trace McSorley, who was asked to work out as a defensive back.
Players are alerted even if only one team wants to see them perform at another position, and there were 41 requested players this year. Typically, prospects decline the opportunity.
McSorley, who worked out with the quarterbacks on Saturday, has declined the request, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
Typically, players asked to work out at a different position at least have some background in the alternate spot. For example, former Michigan star Jabrill Peppers worked out at both linebacker and defensive back at the combine in 2017; he had played both spots at the college level. McSorley, however, was purely a quarterback over a five-year stretch at PSU and, prior to that, was a four-year starter at quarterback in high school. At 6-feet and 202 pounds, his size is closer to the prototype for a DB than it is for a QB. Does he have the skill? Perhaps what he showed in rushing for nearly 1,700 career yards for the Nittany Lions gave NFL scouts an inkling that he might have the agility for a more athletically demanding role.
Some other prospects asked to go through position drills at two positions: Ohio State DL Nick Bosa (LB), Michigan DL Rashan Gary (LB), Kentucky LB Josh Allen (DL), Houston DL Ed Oliver (LB), Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald (TE), Florida Atlantic RB Devin Singletary (WR), Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler (TE) and Ohio State DL Dre'Mont Jones (LB).
NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah noted last Monday on a media conference call that multiple NFL clubs believed Oliver, despite playing interior defensive line at Houston, had the skill to play in a Melvin Ingram-type role as a linebacker.