The NFL draft is only two weeks away, and several Gators’ players are expecting to hear their names called. Among the players is quarterback Kyle Trask. His numbers speak for themselves, but if not for another player’s injury, would he be in this position?
Franks goes down, Trask leads comeback
During the 2019 season, Florida was ranked number nine heading into week three against SEC rival Kentucky. The offense struggled to get into gear and only managed 10 points with just over three minutes in the third quarter. Kentucky led 21-10 when Florida faced a fourth-and-short. Head coach Dan Mullen elected to go for it. They failed and starting quarterback Feleipe Franks suffered a gruesome injury. Coach Mullen commented on Frank’s injury after that game.
It was Trask’s chance to step up.
Dang. If you missed the Feleipe Franks injury, this doesn’t look good. pic.twitter.com/JihmwmttIM
— Connor O'Gara (@cjogara) September 15, 2019
Trask and the Gators’ offense put up 19 points in the fourth quarter and won 29-21 to keep their perfect season alive.
Trask took an unfortunate event and turned it into his opportunity to start and never looked back. As the 2019 season went on, expectations rose, could he really be the guy? Or is he a temporary fill-in before Emory Jones was ready? Jones was the higher-ranked recruit coming out of high school, according to Kerry Miller, a writer for bleacher report.
It didn’t take long for coach Mullen to realize what he had in Trask, he said this after Trask’s third start.
Trask leaves his mark in Florida history
Regardless of how he got his chance, he made the most of it and will leave Florida with a lot of memories. Trask was a legitimate Heisman candidate this past season. He set school records in single-season passing yards with 4,283 yards and in touchdowns with 43. Trask had this to say about breaking the touchdown record, previously held by Danny Wuerffel.
No.6 @GatorsFB takes on @VandyFootball! (12pm EST)
Kyle Trask looks to continue his Heisman campaign against winless Vanderbilt! Trask has put up tremendous stats, where may he see himself drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft?pic.twitter.com/n2NJwOIcUR
— NFL Draft Prospects Podcast (@nflprospectspod) November 21, 2020
To make it even more impressive, this was during an all-SEC season. While his stats are great, he had a lot of help around him. Kyle Pitts is arguably the best pass-catcher in the country and could be a top-five pick in this upcoming draft. Kadarius Toney is one of the best players after the catch. His ability to make people miss can turn a short pass into a big touchdown. Trevon Grimes was consistent with high-pointing the ball all season. These dynamic players combined with coach Mullen’s offense will make any quarterback’s job easier.
While Trask has the talent around him, PFF has him ranked as their number five quarterback in this NFL draft. The reasoning behind this is that he lost a ton of pass catchers to last year’s draft and had to form chemistry with new faces.
PFF also looked at his biggest strength, downfield passing. He was incredible with finding receivers open and putting touch on the ball and layering it between defenders. He does not boast one of the strongest arms or is he the quickest player. However, he proved that he is still effective downfield, which is crucial in today’s NFL.
If Franks never got injured
If Franks never went down with an injury then there is no guarantee that Trask ever gets his chance to play. At least, for the Gators.
Obviously, there is no way to determine what would have happened with Trask. However, if Franks was the one playing quarterback this season and throwing to all of the talented pass catchers that the Gators have, it is fair to wonder if Trask’s supporting cast and offensive system at a different program would have been close to this level.
Meanwhile, Franks transferred to Arkansas and was the starting quarterback this season. Without a strong supporting cast, he had a fairly quiet season.
Both quarterbacks are entering the 2021 NFL draft, many believe that Trask will hear his name called first, and it might be because of Franks.
Trask’s draft stock
Like any college prospect, it is impossible to guarantee success or the lack of.
This draft class is loaded at the quarterback position, and it starts with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. Right behind him is BYU’s Zach Wilson, OSU’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. Alabama’s Mac Jones is another quarterback that is high in rankings. Trask and Jones are very similar in that neither are the fastest, yet both are efficient in downfield passing.
Draft rumors should never be taken too seriously. However, it is worth looking at which teams could be interested in drafting Trask.
It was reported that the Saints are interested in Trask as a potential replacement to Drew Brees. Analysts Matt Miller and reporter Peter King both believe it is very possible that Trask could go in the first round.
Teams picking outside the top-10 in the draft with concerns at quarterback include Washington, Chicago, Pittsburgh and New Orleans. All of these teams have a strong roster and may not have to start Trask right away, allowing him to sit and learn, instead of putting all the pressure on him immediately.