With Tom Brady recently announcing his departure from football, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now have a large hole to fill during the offseason. The question in the heads of many Bucs fans is who will be the starting quarterback in 2022?
Plenty Of Options
There are plenty of options, with the most obvious being what the team already has. Last year, there were two men sitting on the bench behind Brady, Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask. While Gabbert is an experienced veteran, Trask was only a rookie in 2021, and many assumed he was the leading candidate to take Brady’s job after he left the team or retired (which is now the case).
Trask was selected in the second round (64th overall) of the 2021 NFL draft. The move came with mixed reactions, and the general consensus was that the Buccaneers could have used that pick on another position of need. However, since they had already brought back all the starters from their Super Bowl run, they felt confident enough to invest in more developmental pieces or “projects.”
The best way to evaluate Trask would be to look at his scouting report from the pre-draft process. However, we’ll need a bit of background information first. He played college football at Florida, but didn’t start until his fourth year at the program. He was given the opportunity to lead the Gators following an injury to Feleipe Franks, and once he had full control, he never looked back. In two seasons (2019-2020), Trask compiled a 17-5 win-loss record, throwing for over 7,000 yards and just under 70 touchdowns.
Trask was praised for both his accuracy and arm strength, which really showed during his senior season at Florida. He completed 68.9% of his passes and averaged 9.8 yards per attempt, which isn’t easy to achieve when throwing over 400 times. Trask became the first college quarterback in 15 years to throw 3 or more touchdown passes in 9 straight games, proving that he wasn’t afraid to take chances and had a lot of confidence in his skillset.
On the flip side, Trask was criticized for his decision-making skills, some of which might stem from how late he started his college career. The major knock on Trask is definitely his mobility, though, as he often struggled to escape the pocket. The Buccaneers’ top-tier offensive line could likely help solve part of that problem, but it still needs to be worked on nonetheless. Brady wasn’t exactly known for his movement or ball-carrying abilites, either, but his consistency and quick release were simply too good to beat on most occasions.
So far, Trask has yet to see true playing time. In three preseason games, he completed 29 of 55 passes for 312 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions. If Trask ultimately gets the starting job, he will have to adapt more to Bruce Arians’ offensive system, which is known for plenty of deep shots and audibles. In an interview with Robert Mays (The Athletic), former quarterback Carson Palmer described it as “aggressive” and “complex.” He added that his first season with the team was “challenging,” despite it being his 11th year as a pro. Palmer and Arians spent five seasons together (2013-2017) with the Arizona Cardinals.
All In All
All in all, Trask is like many young quarterback prospects. There’s a lot of upside and hope mixed with a lot of downside and concern. The only way for fans to know what Trask can do is to put him in a game, which is far more likely than it was a year ago.
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