2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Kyle Traskby Alex Barbour December 26, 2020 3 comments
Kyle Trask is your standard accurate, medium-armed quarterback with some special traits. From barely playing in high school, sitting behind D’Eriq King, to potentially never playing in college, sitting behind Feleipe Franks, Trask has served his time sitting and learning from some of the best. An unfortunate injury to Franks led to Trask’s first starts, which showed the world his precision and poise, leading to his ascension to first-round buzz. In the correct scheme, Trask will be a steady, consistent starter for years to come.
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Name: Kyle Trask
Class: Redshirt Senior
Weight: 240 lbs
Trask’s greatest feature is his ball placement. Whether the pass is 30 yards downfield or 3 yards in the backfield, Trask puts the ball in the optimal location for a clean reception. His accuracy does not flutter either: any range, any part of the field, Trask is on the money. Some may say that he could have the best ball placement (within his throwing range) in the class.
Arm Strength (6.25/10)
Trask’s arm is by far his greatest negative. He can throw a 50-yard strike at any given moment; however, his velocity tends to not carry past 30 yards downfield, leaving it up to his receivers to make a play, even if the ball is placed correctly. As seen in the SEC Championship vs. Alabama, his strike to Kyle Pitts in the end zone showed his ability to put velocity on the ball. Apart from the lack of awareness from Patrick Surtain II, his strike to Trevon Grimes should have been tracked down and defended, if not picked, due to its high arc and lower velocity. This said, his arm is beyond adequate: he can zip it into tight holes of the defense, but do not expect laserbeams into 3-yard gaps of the defense like Aaron Rodgers could throw.
Decision Making (7.25/10)
Trask rarely messes up on a read: even against Alabama, he made very few head-scratching plays, something many quarterbacks, like Justin Fields, slip up and make from time to time. The ability to not panic is a crucial one. A stat that supports this is his over 90 passer rating under pressure, according to PFF, as of week 10 of the 2020 CFB season. One problem with Trask’s decision making is the fact that he may be too safe at times, which can ironically get him intercepted. Watch his interception in the early second quarter against LSU, and you will see him check down to a “safer” slant than his in-breaking route over the top, leading to Eli Ricks jumping the route and taking it to the house.
Trask has a unique trait that few college quarterbacks have: the ability to transition off his first read or check-down. Some may say that his weapons like Pitts and Toney provide too much of a supporting cast to demonstrate Trask’s skills, but their presence forces Trask to look at multiple reads to find his target. That is something even Trevor Lawrence does not have consistently. Rarely does Trask force balls that his targets cannot grab. Pitts has a 98.9 receiving grade in one-on-one targets, which arguably could be because Pitts is a generational TE, but he has to have a QB to throw him the ball in the right spot to be able to put up numbers like that.
Trask has below standard mobility, but nothing like an Eli Manning. Think about Kirk Cousins: he is far from a scrambler like Kyler Murray, but when push comes to shove, he can take off and get 8-10 yards on a wide-open field. Trask also runs with authority, lowering his shoulder to gain those extra yards with each run. This may lead to him getting an injury ever-so-often, but it gives a spark to his teammates that can rally them to victory. Take it whichever way you like, but his mobility is only a negative if your scheme depends solely on mobility and out-of-the-pocket maneuvers.
Trask stands firm in the pocket and throws with confidence, even though his arm is sub-superior. His team, as well as spectators, can tell that Trask believes in himself and his team around him.
Pocket Awareness (7.0/10)
Trask usually has a good feel for when pressure is coming; however, when he needs to send a ball deep, he tends to miscalculate the time he has in the pocket, especially when he needs to pull the ball down and scramble, similar to the end of the SEC Championship. He also tends to try to scramble holding the ball in one hand, especially when he thinks about throwing the ball away once out of the tackle box (vs. LSU).
Trask is consistent with his mechanics, but he lacks a primary aspect of high-level quarterback mechanics. Trask always keeps a solid base, which has been a problem for many quarterbacks entering the draft; however, it is noted that he rarely uses his front leg to add extra power into his throws. This could directly correlate with his lack of throw power. As much of a negative as that may sound, fans of whichever team Trask ends up on might be excited, because if he can fix that leg issue, his arm strength may be able to compete with the best of the bunch.
This may be where the argument of Trask’s weapons carrying him can be a legitimate red flag. After watching his worst game of the year (vs. LSU), he showed flashes of anticipation on more simplistic routes, such as curls, but on in-breaking routes, he seemed to wait for a completed route. This said, his anticipation on post routes is sheer perfection: he releases the ball a quarter second before breaking on the route and puts it right on target.
Competitive Toughness (5/5)
Look at his hardest game and his worst game (Alabama and LSU, respectively): in both games, Trask fought until the last second. His willingness to take a hit and lower the shoulder is a pure demonstration of how much he wants to win: he wants to win so much that he would sacrifice his health and comfortability. He is a true leader, and regardless of the outcome of the game, he plays his best to the very last second.
Trask has a riddled injury history: he had to redshirt his freshman year (2017) to do multiple operations on his knee and foot. He also was reported to get injured against Auburn in 2019, but he put a brace on his knee and played through the injury. This may be a concern for many teams, but as of recent, Trask has shown a relatively clean health bill.
Trask is one of the most underrated quarterbacks of the class. While people write off his true talent due to his vast weapons and lack of arm talent, few tend to look at his top of the class ball placement and accuracy across all areas of the field. His mechanical failure may indeed be the cause, and if treated right, the cure, to his lack of throwing power, which is critical in trying to find red flags about this highly talented prospect. As long as he has a decent line and a useful check down target, as well as someone who can attempt to be at least competitive at the jump ball, he will be competing day one better than many of the quarterbacks listed above him. His ceiling may be lower, but his consistency may prove to lead to a longer and more successful career than the likes of Justin Fields and others.
Final Grade (70.5/100): Late Second Round
Player Comp: Kirk Cousins