He’s not particularly fast. He ran a 4.75 for the 40. He’s not a particularly effective rusher. He averaged 1.7 yards per carry after sack yardage is removed. He averaged 9.3 rushing yards per game as a starting QB. His Pro Football Focus rushing grade ranked him 282 of 357 BCS quarterbacks last year.
You get the idea.
Tanner McKee is a classic strong-armed drop-back passer in a league that more and more every year leans toward mobile, dual-threat quarterbacks.
Now he’s an Eagle, and he knows that to survive here or anywhere in the NFL he’s going to have to expand his game.
He’ll never be Jalen Hurts or Randall Cunningham, but if he can incorporate more elements into his arsenal, it won’t hurt.
“I'm going to bring whatever the coaches and whatever the Eagles need from me,” McKee said. “In college, I ran a spread, we're going to run a lot of RPOs and things like that. Stanford was a lot more pro-style offense. I'm excited to fit in with a very good offense with an unbelievable offensive line and tons of weapons on the outside.
“I'm just excited to kind of learn the offense and really be whatever player the coaches, my teammates and the organization needs me to be. I feel like I have a lot of different assets, and I'm excited to display those.”
The Eagles drafted McKee with the 188th pick overall in the sixth round, the first quarterback they’ve taken that late since Andy Hall in 2004.
In two years as a starter at Stanford, he completed 63 percent of his passes with 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, and certainly the lack of big-time production didn’t help him in the draft.
But he’s got great size, a rocket arm and great intelligence. He just can’t run.
And while he probably can’t get a whole lot faster, he believes he can definitely learn to use his legs more as a weapon.
“I'm obviously going to try to expand the tools that I have and be able to run when I need to run, and if we're going to run zone read or whatever that is that coach asks of us, I'm going to try to expand and have a bigger toolbox to try to just get the job done with anything that I need to do,” he said.
“Obviously, there are a lot of things that I can learn from, especially from Jalen, on how to read a defensive end and how to do things like that in the NFL with all their speed and size and things like that, that I'm really looking forward to hearing what he has to say.”
McKee has actually already spent some time with Hurts, thanks to a visit to Alabama as a teenager at Centennial High School in Corona, California.
“I know that he has a lot to bring to the table, especially for a young quarterback like me,” McKee said. “I'm excited to be a sponge and learn a lot from a guy like that who's had success at such a high level and so recently.
“It was actually funny — when I took a trip out to Alabama when I was getting recruited in high school, he was the quarterback at Alabama at the time. So I got to learn a little bit from him just for a few days, so I'm excited to actually be in the same quarterback room and to learn a lot from a guy like that.”
How much could he really learn from Hurts during a quick visit to Tuscaloosa?
“I think for me the first thing that comes to mind is just the confidence that he carries himself with,” McKee said. “When he walks into a room, even if it was a room of just quarterbacks, he just kind of has that subtle confidence. He's running the show. He's the guy. So I feel like that's something that you really need when you're going to lead a team. I feel like it's a great trait as a quarterback.”
In Hurts and Marcus Mariota, McKee has two guys to learn from who’ve had success on the NFL level and have won a lot of games.
McKee said he’s going to use every resource that’s available as he starts out his rookie year.
“I think it's huge having two guys that have had a lot of experience and have played a lot of games in the NFL,” he said. “I think it’s really big.
“I'm excited for the challenge of the speed and anticipation that is required to play in the NFL, and I feel like those guys can really help me in that aspect. Ultimately, really excited to hear what they have to say. I have a lot of questions that I'm excited to ask them.
“But I know that they have a lot of other things that I'm just going to learn from them just based off what they know, their wisdom of the offense, and just playing the number of snaps that they've played in the NFL.”
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