Whitley: Kyle Trask would be good fit for Tampa Bay Bucs
As Pro Day dawned at Florida on Wednesday, I was drawn to scouting reports on the quarterback. It seems NFL scouts were not exactly sold.
"Lacks nimbleness and foot quickness in the pocket. Not a runner or a scrambler. Labors."
“Priest-like personality. Calm, wise and thoughtful. He’s accepting of what comes his way. Doesn’t appear to be dynamic."
"Not real gifted or natural as a passer. Does not throw a tight ball. Does not have a big-time arm."
"He can't run worth a lick."
Kyle Trask was 2 years old when those reports were filed on Michigan's quarterback. Tom Brady still can't run a lick, yet he's managed to have a pretty decent career.
But Brady can't win Super Bowls forever. When he finally retires, Tampa Bay could insert another calm, wise quarterback who can't run a lick.
"This kid can get it done," said Roman Harper or Chris Doering or Gene Chizik or one of the other TV guys.
With COVID-19 restrictions limiting attendance, SEC Network was must-watch TV on Wednesday. At least if you like to watch shirtless young men run around and commentators use terms like "ankle flexion," "catch radius" and "dog mentality."
It all sort of ran together after four hours, though there were standout moments. Kyle Pitts ran the 40 in 2.2 seconds and broad jumped to Lake City, or close to that.
He's generated more buzz than any tight end prospect in NFL history. Mel Kiper Jr. reportedly fainted after Pitts' wingspan measured 83 3/8-inches.
As for the other Kyle, he's seen as the sixth quarterback in a five-QB draft. All the buzz is about Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and Mac Jones.
Fields ran 4.44 40-yard dash at Ohio State's Pro Day. Trask ran a 4.98.
"My goal was to get under 5," he said, "so I'm happy."
Heck, the best Brady could manage at the 2000 NFL Combine was 5.28. Books have been written about how the NFL's best and brightest minds somehow let Brady slip to the sixth round.
Tom Brady: Forever the example of the undervalued QB
And every time an undervalued quarterback prospect comes along, Brady's name is invoked to show the kid will prove the experts wrong. It should be noted that, as of yet, none of them have won five MVPs, seven Super Bowl or married the world's highest-earning supermodel.
I'm not saying Trask is going to do that. But like Brady, he could surprise a lot of people if he goes to the right team.
By "right," I mean one that still believes in pocket passing and running the ball. Pittsburgh, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington qualify, but the Bucs would be perfect.
First, they are in Florida. Second, Trask would never throw 30 interceptions in a season like Jameis Winston. But mostly, coach Bruce Arians has always had a thing for tall, immobile quarterbacks who can quickly deliver the ball.
He's coached Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer, Andrew Luck and now Brady. The name "Kyle Trask" may never belong in the same sentence as those guys, but he's not without credentials. Just check the SEC record books.
"He throws a beautiful pass," said Harper, or maybe it was Chizik.
Can Kyle Trask handle it when the pocket breaks down?
The question NFL teams have is whether Trask can do it when protection breaks down. Whether he can improve his "ball security." Whether he's adept at "pocket manipulation."
Basically, scouts wanted to see some semi-fancy footwork Wednesday.
"He needs to show he's not a statue," said Chizik, or maybe it was Lester Holt.
I've seen the Statue of Liberty and Michelangelo's David, and Trask certainly moved better than either of them ever have. He also showed a much better arm than Venus de Milo.
"I thought I did a pretty good job," Trask said.
If he can convince the NFL he's not a lug, the rest would take care of itself. Like Brady, Trask is a workaholic.
Scouts also like to talk about a player's "ceiling." Trask's isn't as high as Fields or Lawrence, but he didn't start a game from his sophomore season in high school until midway through his junior year in college.
He has an upside, and he obviously has patience. Steve Spurrier happened by Pro Day and offered a little advice to Trask.
"I hope you go to a team where you don't start right away," he said. "Maybe slowly work your way in there, and you'll be there a long time."
Sounds like Tampa Bay to me.
Trask would never be the next Tom Brady. He would be a pretty good replacement.
— David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow him on Twitter: @DavidEWhitley