When Hall-of-Fame quarterback Peyton Manning says anything relative to the art of quarterbacking, fans and media alike tend to listen. Despite spending time mentoring the Denver Broncos' incumbent starter Drew Lock of late, Manning has also been guiding Florida QB Kyle Trask as part of ESPN’s new QB1 series.
Trask's draft experience will end up varying greatly from that of Manning's. Manning was drafted No. 1 overall to the Indianapolis Colts back in 1998, while Trask — despite being rated among the top-10 QBs in the 2021 draft class — is not expected to hear his name called until Day 2 at the soonest.
That being said, Manning is looking to impart to the former Gator some sage advice that will guide him through the ups and downs of a (hopefully) long NFL career.
“If I could go back and do my rookie year over again, I think there is a fine line, Kyle, between respect the game and the speed of it but not over-respecting it where you’re hesitant and you think, ‘Oh I can’t make that throw. That’s an NFL defensive back,” Manning told Trask, via CBS Sports. "But give it the respect that it does deserve, right? These NFL defensive backs, they can cover. The windows are tighter. There are certain throws that you just can't make and you've got to throw it away. That was my hardest thing."
Manning’s famous ability to walk the line between being aggressive and smart is difficult to duplicate but sitting and learning for a while in the NFL could give Trask an advantage, unlike Manning, who started as a rookie and went 3-13 on his way to setting a rookie record for interceptions in the process. Trask’s work ethic and collegiate background of cutting his teeth in the SEC makes a difference in Manning’s estimation.
“Keep working,” Manning told Trask. “Keep trying to learn. But coming out of Florida, coming out of a great program, playing in the Southeastern Conference—that’s going to pay a lot of dividends for you, I think, and just wish you the best of luck, pal.”
Perhaps Manning’s standing among NFL GMs could result in some teams paying a little more attention to Trask now, knowing that he has been getting expert guidance from the league's only five-time MVP. Broncos' GM George Paton could be looking at the top end of the draft to grab his QB, but perhaps looking at Trask on Day 2 might be a valuable Plan B option.
Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.
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