Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke may have finally earned his NFL opportunity, but it isn’t coming at his natural position.
The 22-year-old earned one of five try-out invites to New York Giants rookie mini-camp, taking place from May 14-16, with a chance to impress and earn a contract. However, SNY NFL insider Ralph Vacchiano reports that on Day One, Rourke worked exclusively with the wide receivers.
New York currently has four quarterbacks on the roster, which include starter Daniel Jones who was selected sixth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, Mike Glennon, Clayton Thorson, and Joe Webb. Only Thorson is in attendance at the three-day mini-camp, while Rourke works with first-round pick Kadarius Toney and undrafted free agent Derrick Dillon as a wideout.
Rourke went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft and did not get an opportunity last season due to the cancellation of rookie mini-camps. He was selected by the B.C. Lions in the second round, 15th overall during the 2020 CFL Draft, tying former Giants quarterback Jesse Palmer for the highest selected Canadian QB in league history.
During his senior season at Ohio University, Rourke threw for 2,676 yards, 20 touchdowns against five interceptions with a 61.4 completion percentage. He rushed for 780 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 5.4 yards-per-carry.
The Bobcats went 6-6 and earned a Famous Idaho Potato Bowl spot, a game they would go on to win with Rourke being named MVP. The physical activity and sport coaching major earned 2019 All-Mid-American Conference first-team honours.
Rourke started all 13 games as a junior in 2018 and led the Bobcats to a win in the Frisco Bowl and a 9-4 overall record. He completed 164-of-274 of his passes (59.9 per cent) for 2,434 yards, 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions while carrying the ball 134 times for 860 yards (6.4 yards-per-carry) and 15 touchdowns.
The dual-threat QB finished his Ohio career with a 24-13 record as a starting quarterback and was under centre for three-straight bowl victories. Ohio matched the University of Toledo (1969-1971) and Miami University (1973-1975) for the most consecutive bowl wins in Mid-American Conference history.
Over three seasons at Ohio, Rourke produced 7,313 passing yards, 60 touchdowns compared to 20 interceptions and 2,552 rushing yards with 48 touchdowns plus three receptions for 20 yards and two touchdowns — program-record 110 total touchdowns.
The six-foot-two, 210-pound dual-threat passer is viewed as a potential offensive weapon, with a similar skill set to New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill, and the Giants are hoping to determine if he has the skills to succeed at the pro level at any position.