Photo: Kyle Trask; Credit: Florida Gators
The long-time backup quarterback becomes a backup once again.
Kyle Trask, a standout quarterback from the University of Florida, set the world on fire with his impressive 43 touchdowns and 4,283 passing yards in 2020, doing enough to find himself end up with the Super Bowl Champs with the final pick of the second round in the 2021 NFL Draft.
As a prospect, Trask is very intriguing. A two-star coming out of High School, Trask sat behind the current University of Miami (Fla.) QB D'Eriq King in high school. Once he arrived in Gainesville, Trask sat behind another 2021 QB prospect, Feleipe Franks, until a freak injury occurred in 2019. Ever since, Trask has been leading the Florida Gators, totaling 68 touchdowns and only 15 interceptions over the last two seasons.
Trask's strengths are his deep ball, arm strength, ball placement, accuracy, and cerebral play in the pocket. Trask throws with touch and can fit passes into very tight windows, and has enough zip to get them by NFL defenders. Trask's ability to lead receivers and put the ball in space was also another pro for the quarterback. The Florida quarterback is very consistent, and you know what you are getting when you are playing the Texan Gunslinger.
Trask rises to the occasion, playing his best football when the lights are the brightest. Examples include:
- Auburn in 2019, 19-31, 234 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions
- LSU in 2019, 23-39, 310 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception
- Texas A&M in 2020, 23-32, 312 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions
- Georgia in 2020, 30-43, 474 yards, four touchdowns, one interception
- Alabama in 2020, 26-40, 408 yards, four touchdowns (one rushing), no interceptions
According to Pro Football Focus, Trask was the only QB with 10+ touchdowns and zero interceptions on deep balls in 2020.
I know it's just one rep, but what a pretty ball while under pressure.
Trask has received some valid criticism, as he is not a mobile quarterback by any means. Let me be clear, his pocket presence and movement around the pocket have improved greatly over the last year, but he will not get outside of the pocket and make plays like some other quarterbacks in this class can. Trask struggles when throwing on the run, as he is a dedicated pocket passing quarterback.
At Florida's Pro Day, Trask weighed in at 236 pounds, slimming down from where he played in his senior year. However, the Manvel, Texas native still ran a disappointing 5.08 40 yard dash. It's simply worth remembering that Trask won't become a rushing threat, but rather, his athleticism can best be seen with subtle movements in the pocket to avoid pressure.
Trask faced plenty of pass-rush pressure as Florida's tackle Jean Delance was a turnstile for rushers, letting them run free in Florida's backfield. Trask adjusted and became more mobile in the offseason between his junior and senior seasons, which elevated his game to the next level. Still, Delance gave up 40 pressures by himself in 2020, giving up five sacks by himself.
Others will knock Trask's decision making, and there are valid concerns there as well. Trask can see the field very well, as he picked apart eight-man coverages throughout the 2020 season. However, there are very bad reps such as in the Oklahoma game, although Trask was reportedly playing injured and was without four starting pass-catchers.
Similar to many other quarterbacks in the league, his bad reps are really bad. Still, they are rare, as he only threw 15 interceptions in 774 snaps in three seasons, only 1.94% of his throws ending up as turnovers.
One thing Trask improved on was his confidence, and in his redshirt senior season, he let the ball rip much more than he did in his junior season. Trask still second-guesses himself often, showing his lack of experience as a passer as he has much less experience than many other quarterbacks that make it to the NFL.
Some others will say that great talent bailed him out, as he played alongside Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney. While Trask did lean on them at points throughout the season, especially on third down, this is a lazy excuse that is aimed to tear down Trask for no good reason. Trask posted a 25 touchdown and seven interception stat line in 2019, when his top receivers by yardage were Van Jefferson, Pitts, Freddie Swain, Trevon Grimes, Tyrie Cleveland, and Josh Hammond.
All in all, Tampa was the best possible situation for Trask to land in, as I believe he still needs to develop into a starting NFL quarterback. Learning under Tom Brady, Clyde Christensen, Bruce Arians, and others in the Bucs organization will allow Trask to learn and develop behind the scenes, fine-tuning his game to be NFL-ready once Brady calls it quits. If Trask was drafted to an NFL team and was thrust into a starting role right away, I would not be as much of a fan of the pick as I am now.
Trask has the potential to become a middle to high-tier NFL quarterback down the line, but must improve on his confidence, mobility, and tighten up his decision-making to limit as many mistakes as possible. Trask has most of the physical attributes to be an NFL quarterback, including a 6-foot-5, 236-pound frame.
With a few years to develop with one of the best offensive staff's in the league, Trask is a QB to keep an eye on down the road to be the replacement of the greatest quarterback of all time in Tom Brady.