The Colts will be heading into the 2021 NFL offseason with just Jacob Eason under contract as Jacoby Brissett and Philip Rivers are set to hit free agency. Even if the team re-signs Rivers to another one year deal, the need to find the future at the quarterback position still persists for this team. Chris Ballard has built an excellent roster in his time in Indy but it could all prove to be fruitless if he doesn’t pick the “right” young quarterback of the future.
Our next quarterback that we are going to focus on Florida QB Kyle Trask who is a Heisman candidate in his second year as a starter for the Gators.
Weight: 240 pounds
2020 Stats: 230 for 322 (71.4 percent) for 3,243 yards, 38 TDs and 3 INTs
Davey O’Brien QB Class of 2020
2020 Maxwell Award Semifinalist
CFPA National Performer of the Week (Ole Miss)
Sit Down With a Beat Reporter
For this week’s sit down with a beat reporter, I spoke to my good friend Zach Goodall who covers the Florida Gators for Sports Illustrated. Before we get into the questions I asked him, I do want to put a link to an in-depth interview he did with the talented signal caller here.
ZH: What was your impression of Trask the first few times you have talked to him?
ZG: Trask is probably the most humble athlete I’ve ever covered. Not once has any credit been solely his when it comes to Florida’s offensive success, in his eyes. He’s been the definition of a team player his entire career when you look at his story.
ZH: Dan Mullen has coached so many great college QB’s and Trask appears to be right up there with those greats. How has Trask differed from past QB’s for Mullen and what are his opinions on him overall?
ZG: Trask isn’t Mullen’s usual quarterback in that he isn’t a dual-threat. We jokingly call him Lamar Traskson on the beat every time he breaks off on a scamper and then immediately question why Dan Mullen called such a play, as running the ball isn’t Trask’s strength and Emory Jones, his backup, is an electric rusher.
Mullen has tweaked his system to fit Trask’s strengths, and while Florida can occasionally take shots down the field with its arsenal of weapons, Trask has thrived with spread-out West Coast concepts and making full-field progressions. I will say, his decision making in the pocket and mobility as a passer has improved drastically this year, but moving the ball with his legs just isn’t the name of his game.
ZH: We’ve heard a lot about “limitations” in Trasks’ game however that hasn’t hindered his game at Florida whatsoever. Do you see any of the question marks in terms of arm talent and athleticism hurting him at the next level?
ZG: Athleticism, sure thing. Especially given how mobile quarterbacks are changing the game. Trask won’t ever have the ceiling of other quarterback prospects because he’s just not that athletic. I do think the arm strength narrative has some validity and he won’t fit in a vertical offense, but the velocity on his intermediate passes has improved this year as well (short throws have always been good) as he’s adjusted his footwork and weight transfer through his throws. It isn’t perfect, but it is much better.
ZH: How ready would you say Trask is, mentally and physically, to step in and be a starting QB right away in the NFL in your opinion?
ZG: I think he’s ready to play mentally and physically at the next level, and I think he’ll be a serviceable-to-good starter when the time comes. Will he elevate your offense? Probably not on his own, but he’ll never be the weak-link either given his preparation, understanding of the offenses that work for him, and the looks that defense give him. I would think he’d be willing to sit behind a starting-caliber quarterback to begin his career as well, given his history and demeanor.
Polarizing Opinions on the Prospect
While scouts and other draft analysts aren’t as torn on Trask as they are with a player like Trey Lance for instance, but there are some differing opinions in terms of his ceiling and what he can truly be at the next level. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report quoted an NFL Scout in one of his Scouting Notebook’s that compared Trask and his style of play to that of first overall pick Joe Burrow:
“You don’t want to compare anyone to [Joe] Burrow, but he’s doing a lot of Burrow-like things this year. And that toughness and competitiveness is really on par,” said one NFC area scout who covers the SEC and has seen both quarterbacks up close in the last year.
However when you look at some scouting reports, notably one from Jordan Reid at the Draft Network, you start to see some concerning negatives in his game. Reid mentions in the Cons section of his evaluation that with Trask “It’s highly noticeable that a lot of his passes loft, suddenly die, or taper off during its flight to targets. Possessing a very average arm combined with this fault leads to making life hard on his targets as they’re forced to often make miraculous catches on patterns that should be routine.” Another trait that may terrify Colts fans is the lack of athleticism with Trask as Reid mentions that he is “a below average athlete with clunky feet that make life outside of the pocket challenging.”
While there seems to be a consistent opinion on what Trask currently is, the ceiling is what is mainly debated among many and that is where we will truly see debate on whether he is worth a day one or day two pick come draft time.
My Personal Opinion of Trask
I think compared to most in the scouting community I am a bit lower on Trask. However I do really like his fit in the Colts’ offense and if he were to be available on day two of the draft, I wouldn’t mind the Colts taking him. He may not have the ceiling to ever be a superstar quarterback in this league but he does fit Frank Reich’s offense and can likely run it at a very high level.
When I think about what kind of quarterback Reich needs in his offense, the first traits that I think about are accuracy and a quick release. Trask passes with flying colors in both of these areas and I’d argue they are probably his best attributes. He is well suited to run a high tempo, west coast style passing game like the Colts have employed with Philip Rivers this season.
Kyle Trask's best trait is his ball placement/accuracy but he understands how to use his eyes to create throwing windows— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) December 5, 2020
Each snap is TE Kyle Pitts vs Derek Stingley. Watch Trask eyes initially making sure to clear/hold backside LB - then the excellent location on in-breakers pic.twitter.com/epXGHExg3h
Another area of his game where I was thoroughly impressed was how he dealt with pressure. Young quarterbacks often struggle in this area but Trask does an excellent job of maneuvering around defenders and keeping his eyes down the field. He is also not afraid of hanging in the pocket to the last second and taking a hit to get the ball out on time. He won’t create too much with his legs but the way he adjusts with pressure in the pocket is similar to the ways that players like Rivers and Tom Brady have in their careers.
Kyle Trask vs pressure (pt. 2) pic.twitter.com/s2mF1kpYhm— Derrik Klassen (@QBKlassClips) September 29, 2020
While his arm isn’t anything special down the field, I do like his placement and touch to all areas. Gets the ball where it needs to be and makes life easier for his receivers. He may struggle to push the ball when he is off base but if he is kept clean, there isn’t a throw that he can’t make accurately.
This was so beautiful. Safety points at Toney, Trask looks over and says BET pic.twitter.com/JwImhcuOrz— Tim McRaw (@Gator_Alum) October 16, 2020
Outside of limited mobility and not having a great arm, I’d say the other big issue I have in his game are some extremely questionable decisions at times. Whether it is just forcing the ball when it doesn’t need to be forced or just misreading a coverage, there are maybe two or three really bad decisions a game from what I’ve seen. This is only his second season as a starter so maybe he can adjust with more time on the field but I was concerned by this.
Trask INT wiped off the board by a hands to the face penalty against A&M pic.twitter.com/b26ds3svBD— libgator (@lib_gator) October 10, 2020
Ranking the QB’s we have looked at
This is something that we will keep up with as we roll through these scouting notebooks for the next few Saturdays. These rankings will be my personal ones based off of personality, fit with the Colts, and overall talent. Please feel free to leave your own rankings in the comments below.
1.) Trey Lance, NDSU
2.) Kyle Trask, Florida
I feel really torn on Kyle Trask for a few reasons. I like a lot of aspects of his game but there are some legit limitations that do scare me and make it tough for me to see a franchise quarterback or a guy that I would take in round one.
For positives, he seems to have a great personality and the Florida team has really rallied behind him. He is extremely accurate in the short and intermediate windows and I love the toughness he displays in the pocket. His touch and anticipation are also far ahead of where some of these other quarterback prospects are. I do think he can run Frank Reich’s offense well and efficiently.
However, his ceiling does concern me. Do you take a player in round one if they may never be a top 10 or so quarterback in the league? I don’t know. His arm talent isn’t at a level where he can make all the throws and there will be struggles when he is off his base. His athleticism does hinder his ability to create as well and I think his decision making could improve.
If I had to compare him to a player in the NFL, I may actually say he’s pretty close to an older Philip Rivers. Which by all means is not a bad quarterback and is a player who could run this Colts offense. Like I said earlier in this piece, if he is there on day two I’d likely consider taking him but I wouldn’t take a player like him in the first round personally.