When Jason Licht and Bruce Arians have met with the media throughout the offseason, they've both made clear that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will stick to their board in the upcoming NFL Draft. No position is off the table, in any round.
Both Licht and Arians have flirted with the idea of selecting a quarterback to sit behind Tom Brady, as well. If a signal-caller that meets their criteria is available at a given selection, he could end up filling Tampa Bay's No. 2 quarterback role that was previously filled by Blaine Gabbert, who remains a free agent. Ryan Griffin, the Buccaneers' No. 3 QB last year, signed a new contract and currently projects as the No. 2.
Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask seemingly meets the Buccaneers' criteria and is widely expected to be available at least for Tampa Bay to select in the first round, if they choose.
Licht emphasized on Wednesday that the Buccaneers covet a quarterback that is "talented, can throw the ball," and "someone that we all feel comfortable with above the neck." In March, Arians suggested that if a developmental quarterback with upside "is there at the right time and we really think has a great future, and no better time than to have one sit for a couple years and learn."
During his two-year starting career at Florida, Trask was consistently praised by coaches and onlookers for his understanding of UF's offense and the game to play with maximum efficiency at the quarterback position. His skill-set mentally led to massive growth throughout the 2020 season, where Trask set UF single-season history with 43 touchdown passes and finished as a Heisman Trophy finalist.
Trask, 6-foot-5, 236-pounds, never had the biggest arm and was surely never the fastest quarterback in college football, which has led to concern about his ceiling at the next level. However, Trask found success with accuracy and anticipation after going through his "graduate-level" progressions, as deemed by UF head coach Dan Mullen, consistently understanding where an opening is or would be and connecting with it.
Trask also improved from one year to the next with his footwork and athleticism in the pocket to avoid pressure and make throws off of his platform, which is now an underrated skill of his.
Whether he was targeting something as simple as a crossing pattern or wheel route from the backfield, to taking a quick shot down the sideline, Trask's quick understanding of where to put the ball so his receiver can make a play - at the catch-point and after to create additional yardage - is arguably his best trait as an ascending pro quarterback.
Trask might not resemble the type of dual-threat, big-armed quarterback that teams covet in this day and age, but that isn't a problem. Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl this past season with a quarterback who is strictly a pocket passer who doesn't have the biggest arm and is as far from a rushing threat as passers come.
Instead, with an arsenal of weapons around him, Arians crafted an offense that meshed with Brady's elite timing and anticipation which allowed the 43-year-old to push the ball to different levels the field, similarly to the offense that Trask operated with projected first-round picks in tight end Kyle Pitts and wide receiver Kadarius Toney at his disposal.
As Arians mentioned, any quarterback the Buccaneers select would have to sit and learn behind Brady in the immediate future. Whether they serve the backup role for one year or multiple has yet to be determined, but as Licht and Arians have mentioned, who better to learn the speed of the NFL from other than Brady, Arians, and the Buccaneers' coaching staff?
What makes Trask an even more appealing option for Tampa Bay is that he has been in a similar position before. From his sophomore year of high school to three weeks into his redshirt junior year at Florida, Trask was a backup quarterback. He earned a two-star rating as Miami quarterback D'Eriq King's backup at Manvel High in Texas and spent three years behind the likes of Feleipe Franks, Luke Del Rio and others at Florida before taking over as starter in 2019 after Franks suffered an injury.
When Trask finally took the field, he set the college football world on fire. But he never complained and never gave up on his dream to start one day, eventually, while serving the No. 2 quarterback role. Chances are, he'd be willing to take on that role again if it means he'd team up with Brady and have a rather immediate shot at a Super Bowl ring.
Trask's draft range has often been slotted on day two over the past couple of months, but numerous reports have emerged recently that he could sneak his way into the end of the first round come draft night - remember, the Buccaneers own pick No. 32. Trask could have competition to be the sixth quarterback selected from Texas A&M's Kellen Mond and Stanford's Davis Mills, but it's easy to understand why a team would like Trask's skill-set as a high-floor backup with eventual starting upside.
Based on Licht and Arians' comments about the Buccaneers possibly drafting a quarterback this year, Trask would seem to be an ideal fit. As the two have said all offseason long, though, each selection will be based on their big board, meaning Trask or any quarterback would have to present the right value in order to be the pick.