2021 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Kyle Trask (Fantasy Football)
The 2021 quarterback rookie class could rival any in NFL history. There have never been four consecutive quarterbacks selected to kickoff an NFL draft, yet that’s exactly what’s being projected by Grinding the Mocks’ expected draft position. There are five quarterbacks projected to go off the board in the first round this year: Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones. There’s an outside chance that a record-tying six quarterbacks get selected in the first round and if that happens, Kyle Trask is one of the leading candidates as number six.
Trask is a quarterback that went nearly seven years between high school and collegiate starts before being selected as a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2020. Based on his history, he won’t let the view of him as a second-tier quarterback in this class bother him. Let’s take a look at his winding road and future fantasy prospects as an NFL quarterback.
Editors Note: This article is part of our Rookie Profile series going on until the 2021 NFL Draft. For more on each rookie, check out Andy, Mike, and Jason’s exclusive rookie rankings and production profiles found only in the Dynasty Pass, part of the brand-new UDK+ for 2021.
College Production Profile
After learning about Trask’s route to the NFL draft, it’s hard not to root for the kid. After starting as a freshman at Manvel High School outside of Houston, Texas, he was relegated to a backup and part-time player for the rest of his high school career. Still, he did enough with his limited play and camp performances to earn an offer from the Florida Gators, the only FBS offer he received.
He arrived in Gainesville as an afterthought (much like he was in the rookie QB preview show). He was redshirted as a freshman in 2016 and didn’t see the field until 2018, and even then, it was only in mop-up duty. Trask could’ve entered the transfer portal but he remained loyal to the Gators. That loyalty paid off in 2019 when starter Felipe Franks suffered a dislocated ankle against Kentucky. Trask led Florida to a comeback victory in that game and never looked back.
He started the 2020 season by setting an SEC record with 18 touchdown passes in his first four games and went on to lead the nation with 43 touchdown passes. That was also good enough for third all-time in SEC history.
One of his stranger statistics is that he rushed for eight career touchdowns, despite racking up just 54 rushing yards over his college career. This discrepancy is in large part due to college football’s odd rule of counting sacks against quarterback rushing yards.
His collegiate career ended unceremoniously in the 2020 Cotton Bowl. Trask threw three picks and was benched in the second half after Oklahoma jumped out to a huge lead. To be fair, he was playing with a makeshift offense after Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney, among others, opted out for the final game of the season.
Weighing in at 236 pounds at his pro day, Trask is the heftiest quarterback of the 2021 class. He’s also one of the tallest. While it might be tempting to compare his measurables to Carson Wentz or Josh Allen, the truth is Trask is not on the same athletic level. In my eyes, he looks more like a young, pre-Gimli-bearded, Ben Roethlisberger.
He may not be an elite athlete, and definitely won’t be winning many foot races, but Trask moves well for his size. He went out of his way at his pro day to prove that he’s “not a statue”, making numerous throws on the move to his uncovered receivers as he ran around the field in a t-shirt and shorts.
What’s on Tape
Games Viewed: Kentucky (2019), Ole Miss (2020), South Carolina (2020), Missouri (2020), Georgia (2020), Arkansas (2020), Oklahoma (2020)
1. He doesn’t flinch when faced with pressure.
After reviewing the notes I jotted down while watching Trask’s tape, the most common word I had down was “pressure”. That’s because he had no problem delivering accurate passes as the pocket collapsed around him or a defender got a clean run at him. In the clip below, the defensive end beats the right tackle and unloads on Trask, but not before he delivers a dime to his wideout deep down the left sideline.
This isn’t to say that Trask is a sitting duck in the pocket. He’s able to step up or out to avoid pressure and give his receivers a few extra seconds to get open. When that still isn’t enough time, however, Trask needs to do a better job of taking an incompletion and moving on to the next play. He showed a habit of taking sacks that should’ve been avoidable after the play had been extended. He’s not going to look to run when he scrambles but, at a certain point, the ball should be thrown away.
2. They may not be jaw-dropping, but he can make all the required throws.
From the pocket. On the move. Deep. Outside. Over the middle. They’re all there on tape. Trask doesn’t have any glaring deficiencies in his passing game, it’s just that nothing really pops off the screen.
Throwing outside the pocket was a focal point of his pro day but there are examples of him making mobile throws in live game situations. The play below is a designed rollout where we see Trask moving right immediately at the snap before delivering a textbook dart to the outside, not exactly an easy throw.
Trask also has experience making “pro-style” throws that aren’t as common in many college offenses. While shotgun and pistol have become the predominant formations in the NFL, there’s still a place for under-the-center quarterbacking. The following play isn’t remarkable, but it’s notable that Trask takes the snap from under center, executes the play-action fake, drops straight back, scans downfield, and eventually checks down to wide-open running back out of the backfield.
It isn’t flashy, but it’s a professional play.
3. Trask was a part of his team’s rushing plans, just not with speed or elusiveness.
Despite his meager rushing totals, Trask was absolutely part of Florida’s running game. Speed isn’t his thing, so the overwhelming majority of his designed runs were “QB Powers”. Trask would catch the snap and run straight ahead, sometimes even following a pulling lineman through the designated hole. The Gators ran some form of QB Power eight times in the 2020 SEC Championship Game against Alabama alone, resulting in two first downs, a touchdown, and a two-point conversion.
Given his size and willingness to mix it up in the trenches, he essentially functioned as a short yardage and goalline back for the Gators.
What’s NOT on Tape
1. Highlight reel plays.
You’ve probably seen clips of Zach Wilson making off-platform throws or Justin Fields chucking it deep against Clemson. We’ve all heard the legends of Trevor Lawrence. In the age of Tweets and TikToks, Trask hasn’t done anything to go viral. Yet every highlight-reel clip of Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney is delivered from Trask. He hasn’t done anything to garnish palpable buzz in the draft or fantasy community, but he has all the tools to be, at minimum, a serviceable NFL quarterback.
Watching tape doesn’t tell a complete story, and Trask’s story is a good one. Context matters. Not much jumps off the screen when watching the film from his 2019 game against Kentucky, but when you consider he came off the bench after the team’s star quarterback suffered a gruesome injury and led an improbable second-half comeback, it’s more impressive. Trask looked terrible in the 2020 Cotton Bowl debacle against Oklahoma, but the players that opted out or were missing due to COVID protocols had accounted for 55% of his passing yards and 79% of his passing touchdowns on the season. Character and leadership don’t show up on tape but by all accounts, they’re some of Trask’s strongest traits.
2021 Fantasy Outlook
With the rise of dual-threat quarterbacks, Trask represents a dying breed of pocket passers. He’ll never be among the league leaders in quarterback rush yards, but he has all the tools to put up huge numbers through the air and his fair share of short-yardage rushing touchdowns. He isn’t projected to be drafted to a team where he’s expected to compete for the starting job as a rookie. He should get time to sit and develop behind a veteran, something that’s become rare in the NFL. Spending a year behind Ben Roethlisberger or Andy Dalton could make a lot of sense. You can disregard Trask in season-long redraft leagues when drafting in 2021, but he’s a name to know for future seasons. In dynasty rookie drafts, Trask is a late-round lottery ticket that could pay off in a big way if everything goes right for him over the next few years.