Kyle Trask is one of the most highly contested prospects in this year’s draft class. Playing the most valuable position in football in the best CFB conference, while also putting up video game numbers is no easy task. That being said, there is no guarantee that his 40-touchdown season in 2020 will translate to the NFL.
Some draft experts say he will translate well in the big leagues, others say that that is wishful thinking. So, I decided to turn on the tape, analyze every throw Trask attempted, and formulate my own thoughts on the former Gator QB.
The most prominent piece of Trask’s game is his usage of pump fakes and eye movements to mess with zone defenders. In my opinion, this is by far his best trait, as his pumps are strong and get defenders to bite quite often. This will be quite a boon to his deep throwing game at the next level because, despite his rather poor arm strength, he can move the deep safety away from his target and open up his window to throw.
However, there is a downside to this. If Trask is going to be utilizing his pump fake frequently in the NFL, he needs to be surrounded by an amazing offensive line. As seen on tape, Trask has the tendency to pump at the wrong times, such as when the pocket is collapsing. He needs to work on when and where using the pump fake is the right choice.
On several instances, you can tell that Trask didn’t play much QB in high school. On several plays throughout the season, the opposing team blitzed all of their linebackers leaving the short-middle of the field wide open. On these plays, Trask never even looked to his open crossing route and instead sat in the pocket, trying to extend the play. While extending the play isn’t necessarily a bad thing, Trask doesn’t have the athleticism to do it successfully at the NFL level. If he is not able to take what he is given against the blitz, I highly doubt that he will find much success, if any, in the NFL.
One part of Trask’s game that gets brought up often is his pocket presence. While there are flashes of times that Trask is able to evade pressure and get the ball out, he doesn’t quite do it consistently enough, and he has even more plays where he just stands back there flat footed. Other times, Trask gets way too antsy and leaves the pocket way too early. This is not something he will be able to do in the NFL as, again, his athleticism vastly lowers his effectiveness out there. In addition, he can occasionally drift and not step up in pockets that he should be stepping up in to.
I have also found a massive kink in his game that needs to be fixed in the NFL. When Trask is under pressure when he goes to throw, he bounces up into the air and delivers the ball without any plant leg. This is not something that will fly in the NFL. Trask will almost always find himself planted into the ground with the air entirely knocked out of him and he will likely be even more prone to injury from these bounces.
Trask’s football IQ gets brought up a lot when discussing his status as a prospect, and there are certainly plays where you can see that. He does a great job of diagnosing his best targets pre-snap on pure pass plays, granted he is playing primarily in the shotgun formation and he will likely need to learn from scratch how to do that under center.
Trask still needs to take major strides when assessing his targets post-snap, however. As previously stated, he completely misses that there are wide open receivers over the middle against the blitz, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. There were several plays against Tennessee where he completely ignored wide open receivers and left 20+ yards on the table both times.
Also, Trask was way too comfortable tossing it up to Pitts in double or triple coverage especially when the defense shows single coverage pre-snap. Trask tends to assume players are open based off of pre-snap reads and this leads to throws that tend to get under cut, and either broken up or picked. Long story short, Trask will most certainly see ghosts at the next level, and a coordinator like Gregg Williams would give him more than nightmares and Peterman-esque stat lines.
Finally, another clear trait on Trask’s tape is his accuracy. Trask tape shows several well-placed balls on throws in between the numbers and the hashes at all three levels of the field. He also displays accuracy on underneath routes, as well as check downs. I do have concerns about perimeter throws and throws in the mid-intermediate level of the field. When it comes to these perimeter throws, Trask has the tendency to put more air under them when he looks towards the perimeter to compensate for his lackluster arm strength. This does lend well to the oddly numerous wheel routes that Trask found open on the perimeter, but any other perimeter route doesn’t portray the same effectiveness.
Trask’s throwing style simply gives the defender way too much time to make a play on the ball, and will translate to tons of interceptions against NFL quality corners. Over the middle, Trask tends to throw the ball slightly higher, which is a massive issue. First, it can result in him leading his receiver right into a linebacker and consequentially, an injury. Second of all, it forces receivers to jump for the ball which is insanely dangerous over the middle; as his receivers will take tough hits and it limits their ability to generate anything after the catch. Similarly, I have observed Trask to simply be unable to read basic concepts in the middle of the field such as high low and mesh concepts. These concepts are the bread and butter of the majority of NFL schemes that Trask fits in and will severely limit him early on.
Trask has a ton of holes in his game that must be patched if he wants any chance of success at the next level. If it weren’t for his struggles on simple concepts, my pro comp for Trask would be Gardener Minshew, as they both possess weaker arms yet would still find success on deep throws, have good accuracy, and do well reading the offense pre-snap.
In my opinion, Trask needs at least one year on the bench to clean up the basics of the QB position before needing 2 more to elevate his game to the NFL level. At that rate, a team will only start to get decent (not great) play out of him by his fourth season. Sadly, this means he will likely be a wasted pick, as you only get a year of play before he ends up on the free agency market.
All in all, Trask has a lot in his game that he needs to clean up, and doesn’t possess any special traits that really elevates him as a player I would want on my team. I would take Trask as a flier pick on day 3 for a team who will be looking to enter a rebuilding/QB competition in the next few years. I see the former Gator going to the Bears in round 6, as that is the scheme I believe he fits the best, and they have the future draft capital to build up the offensive line he is going to need to succeed in the NFL.