We have all marveled at the longevity, success and ability of quarterback Tom Brady.
None of that can be understated as the 43-year old has done what many thought to be impossible – lead the Buccaneers, not just to the playoffs, but one win away from a world championship.
When I was 43 I was hobbling into One Buc Place to cover Greg Schiano’s hapless Buccaneers, wondering if lunch was going to be a Checkers burger or a cuban sandwich from the Florida Bakery on Columbus.
I was – and still am – the definition of a “Dad bod” and the idea of even playing a pickup game of basketball with my son in the backyard would have been a 50/50 proposition. I would need medical attention. The idea of leading an NFL football team through a 16-game schedule and the playoffs would have been as realistic as me flying to the moon.
Brady is of a different caliber, however.
Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today
The problem is, despite the man who apparently found a jug full of Ponce de Leoń’s Fountain of Youth, there is an expiration date. Is it in 2021? 2022? Maybe even 2023? Who knows, but the day is going to come when Brady will step aside from football and decides to have a few cheat meals of devil crabs and cafe con leche.
And then what Bucs fans?
With the Super Bowl in sight the last thing fans want to think about is the future past February 7. Or even the Super Bowl in 2022. But as hard as it is to think about, burying your head in the sand and not addressing the quarterback position long term is a mistake.
Do the Bucs get lucky and strike oil twice and find the perfect veteran free agent quarterback to keep their hopeful Super Bowl championship-contending streak intact, or do they start looking with an eye down the road to a couple seasons from now?
I say the time is now to find your future.
And in my opinion, the future wears orange and blue and hails from Gainesville.
Kyle Trask would be the perfect heir apparent to Brady.
Yuck. I feel dirty even saying it.
As a life-long Seminoles fan, to pull for and push for the Bucs to draft a Gators quarterback feels like I’m cheating on my team. But at the end of the day, once a rival player leaves their school, all bets are off. Heck, I had Vernon Hargreaves III as my pick in 2016. Don’t hate me, Bucs fans. The point is, I have no issue with a Gators player being a Buccaneer as long as it makes sense. And Trask to the Bucs makes a lot of sense.
First of all his story is great. Someone who didn’t even start a game at quarterback after his freshman year in high school and was a backup to D’Eriq King before signing with the University of Florida, Trask didn’t see any action his first two years in Gainesville and entered the 2019 season as a backup to Felipe Franks
Trask isn’t to be confused with Lamar Jackson, or even Patrick Mahomes. He isn’t an athletic specimen running and escaping pressure, or built like a UFC fighter.
But guess who else wasn’t when they were coming out of college? You got it.
Florida QB Kyle Trask – Photo by: USA Today
And guess which coach has always loved the classic drop-back pocket passer quarterback to run his offense? You got it again.
Bruce Arians list of quarterback successes have names like Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer and Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr.
You may have heard of a couple of those guys.
Trask fits that mold. That isn’t to say Trask comes anywhere near the success of Brady, but what if he is another Brad Johnson? A career 30,000 yard passer, Super Bowl winner and two-time Pro Bowler? But with better weapons than Johnson had for the most part over his career.
Trask comes to the NFL with some question marks of course. Is his arm strong enough? Was he just a system quarterback?
The arm strength question is a legitimate one. With Trask opting out of the Senior Bowl this week in Mobile due to an ankle injury, and with the NFL Combine a no-go this year, his pro day in March will go a long way to determining where he ends up getting drafted. But I watched almost every Gators game over the past two seasons, and from the naked eye, arm strength didn’t seem to be an issue. I am guessing Nick Saban at Alabama would agree as it was Trask who gave the Crimson Tide their biggest scare this season in the SEC title game.
46 points on 26-of-40 passing for 408 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. His arm strength seemed fine that evening.
And the system quarterback argument is one of the silliest I hear every year prior to draft time. Literally every quarterback comes from a system. It isn’t like the Gators were running June Jones’ run-and-shoot out there the last two seasons. Dan Mullen’s offense is a system, but so is what Arians runs in Tampa Bay?
Does Mullen’s offense ask the quarterback to throw down the seam to the tight ends? Check.
Does Mullen’s offense ask the quarterback to throw go-routes? Check.
Does Mullen’s offense ask the quarterback to throw to running backs out of the backfield? Check.
Does Mullen’s offense ask the quarterback to throw digs and comebacks? Check.
All of those things are what Arians likes to do as well. And Trask ran them to near perfection for nearly two years.
There is no question Trask has a ton of weapons at Florida. Kyle Pitts. Kadarius Toney. Travon Grimes. Jacob Copeland. But I hear the Buccaneers’ offensive weapons aren’t too shabby either.
There is good news and bad news with the Buccaneers having success this year. Good that they are in the Super Bowl, but bad they will draft at the end of each round. That is the price for success, but one that Bucs fans won’t argue with.
Gators QB Kyle Trask – Photo by: USA Today
So where does Trask end up going?
Some mocks have him as high as a late first rounder while others see him slipping into late in the second round. Maybe even a little lower. If that is the case, the Buccaneers need to jump on him. This Bucs team is built for success again in 2021 and there aren’t a ton of glaring needs to fill. A late second-round pick for a quarterback who threw for 7,386 yards, 69 yards and only 15 interceptions in the best conference in college football?
Sign me up.
Lastly, with Brady set to come back in 2021 and perhaps even 2022, Trask would be in the perfect situation even if there might be some concerns he isn’t ready for the NFL just yet. Would he get any better coaching or would he be able to sit behind anyone better for a year or two while working on his game?
The Bucs won’t be in a position to draft a Trevor Lawrence or a Justin Fields or a quarterback of that caliber for hopefully the next couple years. So why not throw a flyer at a guy with a ton of production, who has intangibles that the NFL loves and can learn from the best to ever do it?
Brady won’t play forever. And while the Buccaneers are solely focused on the now, they need to have an eye towards the future. Even if that future once played in the awful orange and blue uniforms in Gainesville.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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