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2021 NFL Draft: Kyle Trask’s potential to play in the NFL

2021 NFL Draft: Kyle Trask's potential to play in the NFL
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There is a chance that Kyle Trask is the best Florida Gators quarterback since Tim Tebow graced the grass at The Swamp. While that may sound like some grand accomplishment, we should note that Florida hadn’t had the best luck in the world since Tebow. They rostered guys like Jacoby Brissett, Jeff Driskel, and Will Grier, but none of them finished their collegiate careers at Florida.

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In 2019 they began the season with Feleipe Franks at the helm. It took an ankle injury that sidelined him for Trask to get time as the starter. So, what is the potential of a redshirt senior QB that was a three-star recruit who has 10 games starting experience?

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Does he possess an NFL-level arm?

Yes. But his non-traditional throwing motion is not something Twitter’s best handle @artdecider would consider “art.” Shorter passes, like screens and dump-offs to backs and receivers have the tendency to sputter and flutter in the air. There is a bit of shot put to his motion. But he doesn’t have any issues pushing the ball downfield when he’s in rhythm. He doesn’t have high-end velocity over the intermediate areas of the field, but he has no issues fitting tight-window passes across the middle. His biggest problem so far in his short career stems from what’s above his shoulders. His understanding of trajectory and pace, particularly figuring out how to place passes into vertical windows.

General ball placement prowess

There is a lot of up and down in this area for Trask. When his upper and lower half remain connected, he has spots of eye-popping ball placement over the middle of the field from 10-20 yards. However, his mechanical deficiencies within his footwork cause struggles with consistently placing passes where they need to be. He didn’t have the same amount of attempts on tape as the other top quarterback prospects (lack of film), but you can see he has what it takes if he cleans things up. It’s important to remember that last year was his first time playing since he was a senior in high school, and that showed in his play. He got better as the season went on.

Related | Kellen Mond and Tanner Morgan are intriguing 2021 QB sleepers

Like with the other top quarterbacks, let’s take a look at how he fared in different areas of the field. Pushing the ball down the field and accuracy outside the numbers and to the intermediate and deep areas of the field is where the “NFL throws” come into prominence. Trask isn’t one with the arm strength to really push the ball to the opposite hash with velocity, but he has enough to get it out there without a massive arc.

Of his 56 attempts 10-plus yards downfield, he adequately placed 31 of them, which ends up being a 55.4% clip. That number is a bit lower than Trevor Lawrence, but the difference in natural arm talent is so large it’s more noticeable with Trask. There are times he’ll get off his initial read and try to quickly push the ball to the middle of the field in the intermediate areas between the linebackers and safety, but in doing so, he steps completely in the bucket, like a baseball player who’s afraid to get hit. In turn, it looks like a fadeaway, and the ball often dives down and forces the receiver to stop.

Ball placement to different grids

He doesn’t have any issues directionally, and the distribution between left, middle, and right was almost exact.

Left: 28/41 68.3%

Middle: 27/42 64.3%

Right: 31/42 73.8%

However, if we take away screen plays thrown behind the line of scrimmage, we see the middle of the field is frequented more often.

Left: 20/32 62.5%

Middle: 27/42 64.3%

Right: 23/34 67.6%

There is definitely room for improvement. His footwork is reminiscent of Dak Prescott, who also played under Gators’ current head coach Dan Mullen. What was most confusing about the games viewed was the lack of passes thrown from outside of the pocket, both by design and off-script. He only attempted nine of his 125 passes from outside the pocket. He’s not the athlete the trio of Lawrence, Justin Fields and Trey Lance all are, but he’s got more juice on the hoof than Tanner Morgan, and it’d be nice to see that more often.

Biggest issue and room for improvement

Like Morgan, Trask had issues protecting the football in 2019. He only logged seven interceptions, but in the games viewed, he threw nine interceptable passes, with a few horrific plays that can be chalked up as rookie mistakes, but won’t fly should there be a 2020 collegiate season. He was particularly poor in the red zone, turning the ball over three times in that area, with an interception called back by penalty against LSU. He was also charged with five fumbles throughout his 12 games in 2019.

The mental lapses are one thing, but the biggest need for improvement comes in his pocket presence and ability to escape pressure. Trask really doesn’t have many recipes in his cookbook here. He really doesn’t look comfortable against pressure most times, and he lacks both a plan and ability to escape most pressures if he is unable to get rid of the ball. But Trask is a well-built quarterback, and even if he’s able to develop slight slides and break weak contact like other big quarterbacks, he’d take the next step as a passer.

What are his NFL prospects?

Trask seems like a guy who could benefit from the environment the Reese’s Senior Bowl provides. Without significant improvement in these two areas and a jump in consistency with his ball placement, it’s difficult to see a path to the draft that ends with his name called before mid-to-late day three.

Trask doesn’t have the arm or athleticism that will intrigue organizations enough to take early. He’s the type of player that just doesn’t move the needle in any sort of direction. He’s tough to hate and even tougher to love, but if you look close enough at the microscope, you can find some potential in Florida’s Kyle Trask.

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