Third-string quarterback Nathan Rourke needed to make a strong impression in the preseason to secure a roster spot on the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2023. Based on his performance in the 28-23 win against the Dallas Cowboys, he should feel about his chances of making the cut, especially after getting a shout-out from 2022 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes.
Rourke entered the field once Trevor Lawrence and backup C.J. Beathard had left. He proceeded to make the most of his opportunity, going 9-of-17 for 153 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. That statline alone might have given a boost to his odds of sticking around. However, he was responsible for one play that made him stand out.
Leading 22-16 in the fourth quarter, the Jags were on third-and16 when it looked like the Cowboys' rush was going to get to Rourke. However, he somehow found a way to escape to connect with running back Qadree Ollison for a 21-yard touchdown catch.
While lots of words could be written about how great Rourke's ability to escape the pocket is, you should see for yourself how amazing the maneuvers that led to the catch were.
As you can see, Patrick Mahomes caught wind of Rourke's electrifying play and had nothing to do but praise him, nasty indeed!!! The truth is that it's hard to recall a play in which a quarterback managed to avoid the heat to make a throw like that and land it. The one Eli Manning threw to David Tyree in Super Bowl 42 to beat the at-the-time undefeated New England Patriots a few plays later comes to mind.
Sure, the stakes were considerably higher in that game while this was a preseason bout. You could even make argue that it's hyperbole to compare both throws but that doesn't take away the fact that Rouke showed the kind of escapability skills every single quarterback in the league would love to have.
Jaguars QB Nathan Rourke solidify his spot on the Jaguars' 53-man roster for 2023
If it were up to the Jags, they'd rather Nathan Rourke never sets foot on the football field because that would mean Trevor Lawrence and C.J. Beathard aren't good to go. On the other hand, Jacksonville should feel great about their quarterback room.
The Jags have an ascending talent in Trevor Lawrence and a capable backup in C.J. Beathard. On top of that, they'll potentially have — if he makes the roster — a third-string quarterback that can make plays where there's none to be made.
Of course, the Jaguars still need a few weeks left to decide who will earn a roster spot but it looks like Rourke has a favorable chance of earning one. But even if he does, he knows he's doing something right. Otherwise, he wouldn't have caught Patrick Mahomes' attention.