It takes a lot to show NFL teams that you have what it takes to be successful at the next level. It's even harder for college quarterbacks to do so.
Former Gators quarterback Kyle Trask has overcome many obstacles in his career, and none may be greater than taking his game to the next level, becoming successful at the pinnacle of a football athlete's career. Today, at the Florida Gators' Pro Day, Trask made an attempt to illustrate just that, standing in front of scouts from 31 out of 32 teams.
"Really I just wanted to show that I'm not just a statue back there, that I can move," Trask told members of the local Florida media following the event on Wednesday.
"I thought I tested well, thought my cone drills were solid. Also, I just wanted to show that I can burst out of the pocket, have little movements within the pocket and still be able to deliver an accurate ball consistently, and I thought I did a pretty good job of that today."
Trask isn't worried about the 40-yard-dash, nor should he be. Leave that to tight end Kyle Pitts or receiver Kadarius Toney, who both shattered expected times at their respective positions.
He does, however, need to show teams that he can play inside and outside of the pocket, something that's vital for success in the NFL today (unless you're Tom Brady).
Even though the 40 time wasn't a focus, Trask did say that Gators coach Dan Mullen told him he ran a 4.98s 40-yard-dash. His goal was to get under five seconds, and he achieved that. However, what he wanted to show scouts today was quite different.
“I want to make sure they knew that I have a strong arm," he says. "A lot of things that I’ve been hearing is that I can’t move and have a weak arm. I wanted to show just the opposite – that I can burst out of the pocket, that I can move around in the pocket and still be accurate and that I have a strong arm and the ability to make throws downfield.”
Movement and arm strength were certainly two major components of Trask's game that were critiqued during the season last year. Even still, Trask completed passes with an average depth of target of 10.1 yards last year, according to Pro Football Focus, which ranks 8th among all 2021 draft-eligible quarterbacks who had at least 235 dropbacks last season.
That metric ranks higher than ever former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (9.0), the likely No. 1 overall selection this year.
Here are some throws from today's event:
Over the last several weeks Trask made it a point to slim down. He has slimmed down 15 pounds to around 236 pounds. Part of his process was making sure he was in the best shape of his life knowing that the speed of the NFL game is even faster than college and quicker at the position he plays.
While former Gators offensive lineman Brett Heggie doesn't quite understand why Trask isn't being talked about in high regards like the first five or so quarterbacks, none of that doesn't phase Trask at all. He doesn't care.
"I really don't care. To be honest. I'm sure you're not surprised by that answer. I mean, I'll be happy wherever I go. All I can control is what I can control, and that's what I did today."
According to Trask, teams have praised him for his accuracy, ball placement, consistency and anticipation. Several traits were clearly showcased in a positive light last season at Florida. He would complete 301 out of 437 (68.9%) of his passes last year for 4,283 yards, 43 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
"Whenever I play, even if it’s a 50-50 ball, I can make it an 80-20 ball," he says.
"I can put it where our guys can go make a play on it. Our ability as an offense just to have such a presence with the vertical game and so many vertical routes and still have a solid completion percentage. That’s something that really stands out.”
Moving forward, Trask will want to continue improving his skills throughout the offseason. Now, fully recovered from a high-ankle sprain that took about 8-10 weeks to heal, he can simply go out and participate in an NFL camp, wherever and whenever he gets drafted.
"I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a majority of the teams just throughout this whole process. Just a lot of Zoom calls. At the end of the day, I’ll be happy wherever I go.”