When we put the college football season to bed back in January, a consensus was built around the five specific quarterbacks worthy of going in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. You know the names: Trevor Lawrence was at the top. Zach Wilson and Justin Fields were duking it out to be QB2. Trey Lance was seen as an ultra-athletic upstart with tremendous upside. And Mac Jones was the late-bloomer who put up ridiculous numbers while quarterbacking college football’s best team.
But it sounds like there could be room for one more.
Peter King’s Football Morning in America column at Pro Football talk is full of nuggets and tidbits. Among the most interesting is King’s sharing of one thing he thinks about how the first-round crop of quarterbacks will shake out:
“I think I’m starting to think Kyle Trask, the Florida quarterback, has a good chance to be the sixth first-round quarterback. Starting to think.“
An insider with King’s connections and experience “starting to think” there could be six first-round quarterbacks is enough to set off alarms in my world.
Six would be a whopping number of first-round quarterbacks. Moreover, seeing Trask as yet another quarterback going in the first round is astonishing. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if Trask is talentless. He has some skills that could translate to the pro level. But things ended rather poorly for Trask at the end of his college season. So much so, his draft stock took a hit and put him on the outside looking in when it came to being a possible first-round quarterback. And yet, things have circled back to Trask being a potential first-rounder. How could we have gotten here?
Trask was a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, throwing for 4,283 yards and 43 touchdowns. It was a solid follow-up to a 2019 season in which Trask took over for Feleipe Franks after an injury, and never gave the job back. As a junior in 2019, Trask threw for 2,941 yards, 25 touchdowns, and just 7 interceptions. And, perhaps more importantly, led the Gators to a 9-1 record. Again, there is a fair amount of good tape on Trask’s résumé.
But there’s a but … because there’s *ALWAYS* a but…
The end of Trask’s college career set off alarms as 5 of his 8 interceptions in 2020 came in his last three games. And much of his struggles came after first-round teammates Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney left to focus on preparing for the Draft. A stumble to the finish left a sour taste in many mouths. But perhaps perceptions have changed now that time has passed to dissect his entire body of work. Or maybe teams are simply this darn desperate for quarterback help.
All of this to say this leaves the Bears in an interesting situation.
The Bears were in attendance for Trask’s coming-out party, a 356-yard, six-touchdown game against Arkansas. This statement game put Trask on the map for the Heisman Trophy and first-round consideration. It’s possible that the time passed between that game and this moment has led us to where Trask can be talked about as a possible first-rounder again.
This feels important to keep in mind. Chicago’s football team is still as QB-starved now as it was when the offseason began. And despite that desperation, King doesn’t believe the Bears can swing a deal with the Falcons for the fourth pick. That’s where Trask being a potential first-round pick comes into play. If Chicago is unable to move up to get one of the top-5 quarterbacks, then a sixth who is deemed first-round worthy falling to where the Bears are picking would be quite convenient — particularly if the team was hell-bent on taking one in the first round.