It’s time to start looking ahead.
Although the Bears might still bring in a veteran quarterback, the chances of them taking a quarterback in the draft – whether that’s in the first round, second round, third round, or later – seem increasingly likely. Nick Foles is the only quarterback on the 2021 roster. Bringing in another veteran still leaves room for at least one more QB.
The Shaw Local Bears Insider podcast is bringing you a new miniseries over the coming weeks exploring quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft. During each episode, Shaw Local Bears reporter Sean Hammond will speak with a college football reporter who covered this year’s quarterback class.
In this episode, Tampa Bay Times college football writer Matt Baker joins the show to talk about Florida quarterback Kyle Trask. Baker covers Florida and Florida State and has followed Trask’s career in Gainesville. Baker can be found at @MBakerTBTimes on Twitter.
Trask finished fourth in Heisman voting but is overshadowed on draft boards by some of his peers. If mock drafts are any indication, Trask should be available in the second or third round.
Below is a short snippet of the conversation. Tune into the podcast to hear the full discussion at shawlocal.com, Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever podcasts are available. The following has been edited for clarity and length.
When you look at Trask as a potential NFL prospect, what are the pros and cons of his game?
Baker: “He’s got the size. He’s 6-[foot]-5, 240, or whatever. He’s very, very accurate. Even going back to before he burst onto the scene in 2019, we would see enough of him in practice to know he could get rid of the ball and get it where it was going. Obviously, you look at the stats, if that matters, had the best season – other than I guess a [Tim] Tebow year – one of the best seasons in the history of the Florida Gators. Set the record for touchdown passes, passing yards per game, all that stuff. So he has good tools. Decision-making, I think he was pretty good on that, knowing where to get the ball to.
“With the cons, arm strength is a legitimate question. His ball, it’s kind of hard to describe, but I think the word I’ve seen used is pillowy. It’ll get to where it needs to go, but it’s kind of soft getting there. He doesn’t throw a bullet; he doesn’t have a Trevor Lawrence arm.”
How do you put into perspective his early season success vs. the struggles he had late in the year?
Baker: “He didn’t play terribly against ‘Bama. But look, they played ‘Bama better than anybody else in the country, 52-46 loss, and they had the ball with a chance to win it. That’s not on him. The LSU game was not great. It wasn’t. A lot of that was a defensive debacle from Florida, which was a theme to the year. But he didn’t play his sharpest. If you’re looking at what are the reasons why, well [tight end and first-round draft prospect] Kyle Pitts was out that game. That kind of feeds into: How much of it was Trask? How much of it was the supporting cast?
“I’m a Heisman Trophy voter, and I had to figure out if either of those guys was going to be on my ballot. When it came down to it, I didn’t have either Trask or Pitts on my ballot, but if I had to pick, I would’ve picked Kyle Pitts because of the way that Trask did not play as sharp when Pitts was not on the field.”
If you have to choose Mac Jones or Kyle Trask in the draft, what factors help you make that choice?
Baker: “I’ve seen the talk on Mac Jones as a top-10 pick. I don’t know that I’m quite sold on that yet. But look, I think he has a stronger [arm], he had a better completion percentage. He had the highest passing efficiency in the history of college football. You put all that stuff up, he’s a really good player. I don’t know about top 10. But I would give him the edge over Trask.”
Is sitting behind a veteran the ideal situation for Trask?
Baker: “Absolutely. That would be the ideal fit. Honestly, I’m here in Tampa, I’m required to say this: I think the Bucs might be a good option. Learn behind Tom Brady for a year or two depending what Brady wants to do and see whether Trask can become the guy. Again, he’s not the wow tools to go out and start on Day 1. It’s going to take time, and he needs to sit behind somebody who can teach him what to do.”