Buccaneers: Re-evaluating the Kyle Trask pick with hindsight

Kyle Trask, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Kyle Trask, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

The Kyle Trask pick by the Buccaneers when it happened didn’t feel right, and it doesn’t feel much better with hindsight either.

Some of the Gators Buccaneers fans may say that its still too soon to make a judgement on Kyle Trask, but its been almost a full season, and sufficient time has gone by to digest the decision with the benefit of seeing how the regular season played out. Unfortunately, this pick still doesn’t feel right.

Trask was never going to do anything in 2021, and to think that this season would have any impact on his standing with the team is flat-out wrong. This was a long-term gamble by the Buccaneers, but it doesn’t feel like it was the right move with needs in other areas.

For starters, this is written with hindsight, so we know things about the team that the coaches and leaders didn’t know back in late April, but there were still warning signs.

Using that pick on almost any other position would’ve helped the team this year, a season where the team is still going all-in. A rookie receiver, running back, safety, or corner from the second round would likely be starting the game on Sunday, and given the histories at those positions, it probably wouldn’t have been their first start either.

The staff had no way of knowing this though, so you can’t really fault them for trying to invest in another area, but it still seems strange that they settled on Trask.

Trask’s college stats still hold up, and the fact that he apparently was the only thing tying Dan Mullen to the sport is impressive, but the physical tools just weren’t there. We didn’t see the big arm or NFL-ready tools in the preseason, and those don’t just magically show up.

There is a reason why future Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson has so much hype going into next season. Everyone who watched him play for one minute knew that he was the best at his position in the state, and there will be plenty of NFL teams that look into him (potentially even the Bucs) if he maintains his recent pace over a full season based on the physical tools.

Richardson may not be as good on paper as Trask in college, but teams value traits over production.

It is also telling that Trask was a lesser prospect than Mac Jones, who, by all accounts, has been the most mediocre quarterback in the league this season. You can say whatever you want about stats or the weather, a team throwing the ball with their quarterback three times in a game tells you everything you need to know about them.

Given the current layout of the team, Trask isn’t even next in line for the starting job with Blaine Gabbert, and that alone is telling. The physical tools just aren’t there, and even highly-touted backups like Jordan Love aren’t working out, so that shows just how long Trask’s odds are.

This isn’t to say that Trask is a bad quarterback, but it is faulty logic by the NFL world as a whole that five top-tier quarterbacks are going to be in every draft. The numbers just don’t work out that way, and some teams are about to learn the dangers of reaching on a quarterback this season with a much weaker overall class than last year.

With no major needs in the moment, a great college quarterback to sit behind Brady for a few seasons seems like a great idea, but there are always greater needs than a QB3 during a period where the team is going all-in.

While this writer would certainly take Trask over Gabbert or Ryan Griffin today, that isn’t necessarily a great endorsement either.

As the NFL changes, so too do the demands of the quarterback position. Being great in college is no longer the litmus test for being able to transition to the next stage, and a pure stats-based argument from college does little to persuade that a perfect fit is there.

Jameis Winston won the Heisman, a National Championship, and put up good stats too. Look what happened to him in Tampa. Good college player. Didn’t cut it. While Winston did have more of the physical tools, Trask certainly did far more with less in college, so this isn’t to say he will never pan out in Tampa. If there was a team to make it work with Trask, it absolutely is the Buccaneers with their offensive line and receivers.

It is also worth pointing out that young quarterbacks get better by playing in NFL games. There is a reason why the Patriots cut Cam Newton, the 49ers are struggling switching between Lance and Garoppolo, and why Jordan Love is still not taking those next steps. Sitting on the bench and “learning” isn’t what makes a player. If the Buccaneers really do see Trask as the next guy, they would be wise to get him more reps in garbage time over the next few seasons.

Otherwise, Trask is going to face a difficult transition in a few years if he only gets QB3 reps between now and then. The Bucs would also be wise to move on from Blaine Gabbert if this is the case, but that seems unlikely given the current dynamic in the QB room.

Regardless, the move is made and nothing will change that now, but pretending like Trask is the lock to be the next face of the franchise is a bit premature. A lot can change in the next few years as Brady is proving that he still has some gas left in the tank, and it will be interesting to see where Trask is at by the start of next preseason.

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