2021 NFL Draft: Overvalued Quarterbacks
The 2021 NFL Draft has six quarterbacks who have been discussed as potential first round picks. Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields were elite-level prospects coming into the season, and while neither showed the improvement many had hoped for, they remain the only two can’t miss prospects at the position. Zach Wilson will likely be drafted high enough to get an immediate shot. While competition questions will persist, he showed enough high-level talent to get a long look as a potential franchise quarterback.
Scintillating prospect Trey Lance played just one game in 2020 but had impressive enough 2019 tape to still be a top-10 pick. Mac Jones was considered for this list, as he is not the most gifted quarterback from a tools perspective. His ability to consistently hit downfield throws is in question due to arm talent. Still, his processing skills, anticipation, and football I.Q. should allow him to succeed in the right offensive scheme. That leaves us with Florida’s Kyle Trask as the only player who truly meets the criteria to be discussed as overvalued.
Much like with last season’s installment, prefacing with the fact that all of the quarterbacks discussed in the first round have first round ‘type of talent’ is necessary. They have shown flashes of brilliance and could very well go in the first round in this or different draft classes. As intimated above, for the purposes of this discourse, to be eligible for this list, you have to at least be in the first round conversation.
Pinpointing which quarterbacks may be overvalued at this point of the pre-draft process comes down to where draft analysts and prognosticators view a certain prospect versus where the actual NFL teams may have them pegged. With no NFL Combine, tape is more important than ever.
Kyle Trask (QB – Florida)
Tape watched: Alabama (2020), LSU (2020), Oklahoma (2020), Georgia (2020), Virginia (2019), LSU (2019)
Kyle Trask took a monumental leap in 2020. The Heisman finalist was spectacular for much of the season, at least in the box score. He was a middling late Day 2 or Day 3 prospect coming into the season but improved his NFL prospects considerably. In 2019, he threw for 2,941 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. In 2020, his second year as a starter, he was able to improve dramatically despite losing skill talent like Van Jefferson and Lamical Perine.
Trask blossomed into a quarterback with a potential future as a lower-end starter thanks to tossing 4,283 passing yards, 9.8 yards per attempt, 43 passing touchdowns, eight interceptions. He made full use of the weapons around him and was able to connect on more deep passes due to making opposing defenses fear the yards after the catch his weapons could produce against softer coverages.
Kyle Trask proved his upside against the top conference in college football in the SEC. He is a large quarterback who can thrive in short-yardage and goal line situations and has shown enough as a quick-hitting, rhythm passer to get some looks as someone who will be drafted with the hopes of developing into a starter. He will likely be drafted to learn behind a veteran, but there are more than few landing spots that could help him reach his potential. Trask has NFL arm talent but does not have a big or particularly accurate arm, which is one of the knocks that will keep him from the discussion as a year one starter.
One of the biggest knocks on Trask as a prospect, aside from having only one impressive season as a starter, is that his skill position talent feasted after the catch. However, in the right system, his experience in hitting his man in spots that would allow them to generate chunk yards after the catch will be seen as a plus. His arm strength and touch have been questioned, and rightfully so, but he has more than enough tape highlighting his ability to hit his receivers deep or outside the numbers. The consistency is not there, but with a good NFL quarterback coach and some offseason tutelage, he can make big strides in these areas. He has the tools; he just needs to refine the skillset.
No Kyle Pitts, no problem. The senior sensation Kyle Trask was in his bag this past Saturday. pic.twitter.com/yfUCJhzqyu
— Ray G ???? (@RayGQue) November 16, 2020
Kyle Trask is not a perfect prospect. He is more of a developmental/project quarterback than many of the names ahead of him, and the truth is, even if he ends up starting in year two or year three of his NFL career, he may not have the upside to last as a starter past his first contract. As mentioned above, he needs to land in the right system, with the right coach, and with the right team as far as offensive line and skill talent are concerned for him to be a success in the NFL. There is just too much quarterback talent in the NFL currently, and there is even more on the way in 2021, 2022, and 2023.
Trask has some short-yardage upside as a runner but is not much of a threat to break off big ones downfield. He has a good arm, as mentioned, but he is far too inconsistent on deeper throws. He needs to work on his touch, accuracy, and ball placement on intermediate and deep throws but has shown the ability to hit his man deep and make throws outside the numbers. The arm talent is there, but he is best suited for a West Coast type of offense that does not ask him to take too many deep shots and instead asks him to dink before dunking when the defense allows for it (or on play-action).
Check out this ball placement from Kyle Trask! pic.twitter.com/KB9iOWGpLc
— Kyle Yates (@KyleYNFL) January 7, 2021
His draft stock is much more volatile than many mock drafts make it seem as he is no shoo-in to be drafted in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He does have position based Day 1 upside, but in this draft class, with the quarterback talent in the NFL and on the way to the league, he does not project as someone with high upside or as someone who will ever be anything more than one of the least talented starters in the league. As a career backup who stays ready behind a more talented starter, he can prove to be invaluable. He would likely be a terrific spot starter who could perform well in a string of games while the starter is on the mend. Ask him to start for a full season, and you are likely to see all of his warts.
Trask has some concerning ball security issues for someone who likes to use his legs to pick up first downs and touchdowns with his legs, which is something that can be a death blow when he transitions to the pros. He is not very athletic when he decides to move upfield and instead relies on his size. For all intents and purposes, he is a pocket quarterback but too often gets flustered under pressure. He may be asked to refine his mechanics a bit when he gets to his NFL team as some of his balls flutter on his intermediate and deep passes. As with most rhythm passers, when that rhythm is disrupted, he can crumble, and that was never more evident than in the final outing of his college career against Oklahoma. He threw three interceptions in the first quarter and almost had a fourth pass picked off in the third quarter.
Trask has upside but will likely not have the success many may be projecting after an excellent senior season. While he still may ultimately end up hearing his name called in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, he is not a top-30 talent in this draft class. Our own Kyles Yates has Trask as the 47th overall player in this class, and that may be a tad generous. Yates did have some praise for Trask given the improvement displayed this past season but concluded with this: “Has a solid floor, but will need to be dropped into a situation where he’s surrounded by playmakers in order to succeed. He’s unlikely to step in and carry an offense with his skillset. He’s still learning and developing due to only starting the past two seasons, but there’s very little upside with the traits that he possesses. Most likely a Day 2 pick.”
Trask is indeed more of a Day 2 prospect than a Day 1 talent due to many of the things discussed above. His questionable fit with many of the teams in the NFL will limit his potential landing spots in the first round, and he has enough question marks that most evaluators will be much more willing to pull the trigger sometime on the second day of the 2021 NFL Draft. If there is any prospect sometimes in the first round discussion that never makes it as an NFL starter, it is Kyle Trask.
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