Florida Gators star Kyle Trask will not be one of the first five quarterbacks selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. While the 23-year-old is widely viewed as a second-tier prospect, it’s clear some in the NFL are enamored with what he can do at the next level.
Trask didn’t even become the Gators’ starting quarterback until 2019, spending several years as a backup. He played well in 12 games, completing 66.9% of his passes with a 156.1 passer rating and 25-7 TD-INT ratio. He then took a huge step forward this past season, becoming a Heisman Trophy finalist and sending his draft stock skyrocketing.
Just days before the 2021 NFL Draft, there is significant debate about who is the sixth-best quarterback in this class. The discussion centers around Trask, Texas A&M star Kellen Mond and Stanford Cardinal quarterback Davis Mills.
One of them might even sneak into the first round, which would be the first time since 1983 that six quarterbacks were drafted in Round 1. In the minds of a few NFL scouts, though, Trask deserves to be even higher.
The Athletic’s Bob McGinn shared that one scout he spoke with compared Trask to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and future Hall of Fame inductee Ben Roethlisberger. While he noted that Big Ben was faster when he entered the 2004 NFL Draft, he still stuck by the comparison.
It wasn’t the only strong praise Trask received. North Dakota State signal-caller Trey Lance is viewed as a potential top-10 pick, with recent buzz that he could be drafted by the San Francisco 49ers at No. 3. Another NFL scout believes Trask will be a better NFL player.
“Nobody’s talking about him. I’d take him over Lance. He’s a big, strong, tough kid. He’ll step up, and he can throw it. He’s got good enough arm strength. Second round.”Anonymous NFL scout on Florida Gators QB Kyle Trask, via The Athletic’s Bob McGinn
Notably, that evaluator still views Trask as a second-round talent. However, it’s surprising to see him ranked ahead of Lance, given where both are projected to be taken.
Kyle Trask stats and draft projection
Trask currently ranks as the 75th player on our top-100 draft board, behind Mond and Mills. While he doesn’t have an extremely high ceiling, the second-team All-SEC selection is generating buzz for a reason.
One of the biggest credits to the senior quarterback is the progress he made. Showing year-to-year development is crucial for attracting the attention of NFL coaches. Trask made a solid leap from 2018 to ’19, then launched himself into another stratosphere this past season.
- Kyle Trask stats (2020): 4,283 passing yards, 43 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 180.0 passer rating, 9.8 ypa, 68.9% completion rate and three rushing touchdowns.
Pro Football Focus gave him a 71.1 grade when under duress this past season, one of the highest marks in the 2021 NFL Draft class. He also demonstrated the ability to step up in big games, throwing for 408 yards and scoring four total touchdowns in the SEC Championship Game against Alabama.
There are plenty of knocks from his draft evaluation. While Trask offers prototypical size (6-foot-5), he doesn’t move very well for a modern quarterback and the inability to improvise and issues moving outside the pocket present red flags. Additionally, he doesn’t have top-end arm strength. Additionally, there are questions about his processing ability and how his slower mechanics and reactions will fare against NFL speed.
Trask certainly has a future in the NFL, even if he doesn’t progress much further. There are enough traits for him to be a backup quarterback immediately and he could be a fill-in starter if injury strikes. The New Orleans Saints are high on him, but he might not have quite enough upside to warrant a first-round pick.