2021 NFL Draft: Pro Day questions for top five quarterbacks

2021 NFL Draft prospect Trevor Lawrence fires a pass in front of Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer (Photo by David Platt/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports)
2021 NFL Draft prospect Trevor Lawrence fires a pass in front of Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer (Photo by David Platt/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports) /
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Kyle Trask, 2021 NFL Draft
2021 NFL Draft prospect Kyle Trask #11 of the Florida Gators (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

5. player. Florida. Kyle Trask. Quarterback. 840. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis

Top question: How can Trask improve his mobility outside the pocket?

Pro Day: March 31, 2021

Fun fact about Kyle Trask: In high school, he was never named the starting quarterback. In fact, since 2014 Wilson has been the starting quarterback for only two seasons.  Both of which were the last two seasons with the Florida Gators. Trask may have come from a high school football powerhouse at Texas UIL, which had their pick of Texas passers. But not seeing meaningful playing time between his junior season in high school and his junior season in college would typically be a big red flag.

Trask got his first taste as the steady starter in 2019, starting in 12 games that season after an injury to the Gators Week One starting quarterback. He had a solid season, throwing 25 touchdowns to seven interceptions, completing 66.9 percent of his passes. But it was the 2020 season that brought Trask’s name into the spotlight and the 2021 NFL Draft conversation.

Trask came out of the box swinging in 2020, passing for six touchdowns in the season opener against Ole Miss. He would do it again later in the season against Arkansas and would throw more than three touchdowns in seven games that season. Trask’s stats improved across the board, throwing 43 touchdowns to just eight interceptions, according to his Gators bio. Trask added over 1,000 passing yards in the same amount of games, accumulating 4,283 passing yards and a completion rate of 68.9 percent in 12 games.

At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, Trask looks the part of an NFL starting quarterback. His backstory is pretty sympathetic too when you think about it: rather than transfer when he didn’t win the starting quarterback spot in high school or college, Trask would stick it out and invest in helping the team win games. Rather than chase a starting position somewhere else, Trask stayed with the Gators, chasing a degree in Sports Management, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The same article also talks about how rare that is with this statistic:

"“Of the 71 Division I-A pro-style quarterback signees ranked higher than Trask in the 2016 recruiting class, more have quit or transferred (39) than have stuck it out (32)” -Matt Baker, Tampa Bay Times"

But for all of Trask’s improvements in 2020, he is still far from being a perfect quarterback prospect. Watching Trask move outside the pocket is difficult to watch: it looks like he’s running a lateral cone drill when he’s trying to roll out move towards the boundaries. This is reflected in the stats as well, as Trask had just 50-total rushing yards in all of 2020 (64 attempts), according to Sports Reference. This is a year-to-year problem too: in 2019, Trask attempted to run 63 times for a grand total of eight yards.

Now some of these numbers can be explained by the fact many of those rushing attempts were in the red zone, which means fewer yards gained. But it also illustrates Florida coaches weren’t eager to get Trask involved in the running game. For context, Clemson quarterback Lawrence ran 68 times for 203 yards in 2020, while Ohio State’s Fields rushed 81 times for 383 yards.

Being a purely pocket passing quarterback isn’t the worst thing to be in the NFL. But with dynamic NFL offenses using rollout and option plays to more and more success in the NFL, you’d like to see Trask be a little more dynamic in the passing game. No one should be asking Trask to become the next Kyler Murray. But coaches will want to know a play isn’t completely dead the moment the pocket starts collapsing.

If Trask wants to improve his draft odds at his Pro Day this March, he’ll need to show NFL decision-makers that he is aware of his flaws as a quarterback and show a willingness to improve them. This actually plays to one of Trask’s strengths, as he has a solid track record of being open to improvements, grounded in his expectations and shown an ability to take criticism effectively after years of being passed over on the depth chart. Trask’s best asset at his Pro Day this year will be himself and whether he comes off as coachable in the NFL.

Trask may not be the most polished quarterback available in the 2021 NFL Draft. But he has shown perseverance and patience waiting all those years to become QB1. He had an incredible year-to-year improvement last season, which makes you wonder if that improvement is thanks to the additional coaching and training he received as the starting quarterback.

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If Trask can show a solid grasp of passing fundamentals and a willingness to improve where he is lacking, it is not inconceivable to see him being a late first-round pick in this year’s draft. Never underestimate the allure of a driven, under-estimated quarterback when given a chance at the big times. A strong Pro Day showing for Trask could pay dividends in the 2021 NFL Draft.