In this NFL Draft, quarterbacks are pretty clearly in tiers. You have Trevor Lawrence, a standalone talent; Zach Wilson and Justin Fields, NFL-ready quarterbacks who will undoubtedly have some rocky weeks early on; and Trey Lance and Mac Jones, quarterbacks who might not be Day 1 starters but certainly have the potential to end up there.
Florida quarterback Kyle Trask falls into the lattermost category — and for that reason the New Orleans Saints would be unwise to pick him at No. 28 in this year’s draft.
With Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill in the quarterback room, this isn’t to say the Saints don’t need help at the position. If Winston struggles this year, it would be nice to have a quarterback who’s more comfortable under center than Hill as a contingency.
The issue with Trask, however, is that he will take a lot of sacks at the NFL level. The Saints don’t need a player who can feel the pocket like Drew Brees, who had an elite mastery of climbing the pocket and knowing when to flush out. But Trask’s statuesque pocket presence would be an issue for an offensive line that — particularly at the tackle position — is very deft at pushing players deep in the backfield to create that pocket.
To Trask’s credit, to focus on his positives, he has an above-average arm, he knows how to work with his receivers, and he’s confident enough to complete difficult throws. That total inability to run, however, would limit the Saints offense.
In Brees’s later years, the Saints were running a Gulf Coast Offense that was heavily reliant on play action and had quite a few boots. Winston, while not mobile himself, has the footwork to continue to run that style. Under Trask, it would take a retooling of the offense.
There are also some concerns on how well that game is going to translate to the NFL. In the NFL, adaptability is key, so if Trask is taking hit after hit in the first half, it’s hard to imagine that changing in the second.
Florida ended its season on a three-game losing streak against LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma. While that isn’t alarming in and of itself, the way it lost those games is. Trask was sacked 10 time in those three games, and threw five interceptions to five touchdowns. Given that those are the closest things you’ll find to NFL defenses in college, it raises some flags.
ESPN’s Mike Tannenbaum believes a team will move back into the first round in order to pick up Trask. It’s widely thought he’ll end up being the sixth quarterback taken, the question is when and by whom. If a team does move back in, that’s good news for the Saints, who sit at a very trade-able No. 28 but can also pick up a cornerback or linebacker who jumps out to them.
Trask is a player who could be solid in the right situation. He may never put up video game numbers in the NFL, but he can work himself up to a point where’s he reliable and consistent. However, he isn’t a fit for the dynamism of Payton’s offense.
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