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Welcome to The Hook, my weekly column that hooks you into a different Tampa Bay Buccaneers topic each Thursday.

I invite you to offer me some feedback on The Hook below in the article comments section.

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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

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

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

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.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

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 mark@pewterreport.com
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DannyC
7 months ago

Hell to the yes!! I’m a Gators fan and I’ve seen every game he has played in college and this kid can play. Put him behind TB for next year and he can definitely take over. He absolutely has the arm strength, but even better the kid is a smart football player.

Vinsane38
7 months ago

Big assumption here as Arians won’t be the coach beyond 2025, or Brady retirement…nonetheless, Trask is sneaky good. And Mullen QB rarely underperform in NFL.

juju1242
7 months ago

As always Mark great article. If Trask makes it to the 2nd rd I don’t see him making it past the Pats. He fits that mold as well unfortunately.I kind of laughed when you mentioned “system QB” I’ve said this about every player no matter what team. You play in a system, that’s what it is. To change the subject real quick. Thats what makes me laugh about the argument for Barber and the HOF. He was a “System” CB, Well, no kidding!! So is every other player in the HOF !!! Barber is was the best of the best… Read more »

Guzzie5525
7 months ago

Keep an eye on Sam Ehlinger from Texas, 64 235 runs like Josh Allen, much better passer than Allen coming out of college, give him 2 years behind Brady, watch out

Guzzie5525
7 months ago

P.S. how fun is it to talk about the draft in February instead of November lol

ScottC543
Reply to  Guzzie5525
7 months ago

And we’re not finished yet.

Jay
Jay
7 months ago

I believe you have a good case. The thing is dose he have the same kind of commitment that Brady has. As Brady once said you have to give your life to the game. Playing great is well great. But it’s the little things that happen when no one is looking that make the difference. Being a champion goes way past what happens on Sunday. I know that you know what I mean.

Dave
Reply to  Jay
7 months ago

How many players can you point to, in the history of the league, that have the same intensity, drive, and commitment as Brady? Very few, if any

BucNnole
7 months ago

Obviously I am completely biased but I’m gonna pass on this. All of my Gator friends agree too pass on Trask. Name one UF QB that has had sustained success in this league.

ScottC543
Reply to  BucNnole
7 months ago

Name one UF QB that has had sustained success in this league.”

What kind of reasoning can you use to say that this applies in any way to Trask?

BucNnole
Reply to  ScottC543
7 months ago

Um he’s a Gator Scott.. lol

ScottC543
Reply to  BucNnole
7 months ago

Alright.

Just for fun, run that list of QBs with sustained success from Florida State past us one time. ;-)

eaustinyoung
Reply to  BucNnole
7 months ago

Name one Michigan QB who had sustained success in the league besides Brady.
Name one UC Berkley QB who had sustained success in the league besides Rodgers.
Name one Texas Tech QB who had sustained success in the league besides Mahomes.
You’re committing an inductive fallacy of faulty generalization. “I’ve only seen black swans so all swans must be black.”

gcolerick
Reply to  eaustinyoung
7 months ago

Brian Griese

eaustinyoung
Reply to  gcolerick
7 months ago

119-99 barely 20,000 yards isn’t what I call “sustained success”

BucNnole
Reply to  eaustinyoung
7 months ago

My point was certain schools have reps for producing pro talent at certain positions. IE: Iowa lineman etc. Yes it was generalization but it was a fairly accurate one. Tebow, Grossman, Wuerfel would agree.

Last edited 7 months ago by BucNnole
BucHarbour
Reply to  BucNnole
7 months ago

You probably thought Winston was going to be great here as well, when some of us stated he’d be a turnover machine and wouldn’t work out. Trask is not Tebow, nor Wuerfel, nor Grossman. He’s got a grasp of the game the others didn’t combined with the right physical traits to get it done in the NFL. The Gators ran more pro passing concepts with Trask then any of those other guys got. The key to being an NFL QB is accuracy, ability to quickly process and read a defense, and a good delivery. Those QB’s you mentioned all missed… Read more »

IDGABuc
Reply to  BucHarbour
4 months ago

The argument about which school Trask, or any QB, came from is mostly pointless. The only way it would matter is if said school offered a QB something that helped them in the NFL, something no other team could provide, basically. Say the perfect coach for that player. Not the case for any QB I’ve seen a lot of this year, I don’t think. I’m a Gators fan btw. I thought the Bucs choices the year we went with Winston sucked, but I sure as heck never based my opinion about who the Bucs future starter @QB should be solely… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by IDGABuc
Naplesfan
Reply to  eaustinyoung
7 months ago

Yup – I guess we should only draft quarterbacks from those schools … or from Purdue (Drew Brees).

eaustinyoung
Reply to  Naplesfan
7 months ago

That’s the opposite of what I’m saying (if you’re responding to me).

Dave
Reply to  eaustinyoung
7 months ago

Couldn’t have said it better dude. Such a horrible way of thinking. Really is

eaustinyoung
Reply to  BucNnole
7 months ago

And I’m not trying to be smug, FYI. I’m a Gator fan and I agree they don’t produce NFL-level QBs. But most NCAA programs don’t run pro-style programs anyways. Always comes down to teaching and learning and developing.

Naplesfan
Reply to  BucNnole
7 months ago

The university program matters not at all. What matters is the specific player, and secondly, his coaching. I’d say that Dan Mullen has done a very good job coaching quarterbacks, including not only coach a Heisman Trophy winner and a Heisman finalist, but more importantly – he is the one who developed Dak Prescott, who turned out to be a fantastic value for the Cowboys as a fourth round selection (#135) Indeed, how much coaching it took to take a kid who was the backup quarterback on his high school team, and had never started a college game until his… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Naplesfan
NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  BucNnole
7 months ago

I think the one thing everyone in this comment thread is forgetting, is that the prospect needs to go to the right fit in the NFL. The school doesn’t matter if the prospect has the tools, but the way he’s used does. Ryan Tannehill and Drew Brees had the tools, but had to go to other teams to succeed. There needs to be a good mesh of prospect tools and system in order for success, school be damned.

JohnGaltsGhost
Reply to  BucNnole
7 months ago

Cam Newton??

JohnGaltsGhost
Reply to  BucNnole
7 months ago

Ok, so Peyton Manning’s top 3 choices for college were UT, Miss St. And UF. By your logic, if Manning had picked Florida over Tennessee, he would have been a bust.

TBChucky
7 months ago

I like it Mark! Good read, as always.

Spitfire
7 months ago

That’s exactly what I have been saying. If the Bucs feel there is a major need to fill to give Brady what he needs the next year or two then do it, but we should 100% be looking for his eventual replacement. Brady knows he’s got his eye on a couple more years at most and even if we Drafted a WB we wouldn’t be pushing him out, ever, unless he wanted to go. BUT! We have the rare opportunity of having the greatest WB ever on our team and if we didn’t try to find his replacement soon so… Read more »

Spitfire
Reply to  Spitfire
7 months ago

In terms of Trask, I watched the game he came in for the first time and won a game where even their supposed star couldn’t get out of his own way and their backup was even worse all getting hurt. Then comes Trask off the bench as QB3 and marches right down field one drive after another. It was like watching history in the making. Haven’t caught too many Gators games since but he seems to be doing his job. I wish with his size he’d be more Mobil but honestly, as much as the league is in a Mobil… Read more »

Spitfire
Reply to  Spitfire
7 months ago

I say let Brady evaluate the QBs available in this years Draft and see if he noticed any hidden gems. I understand he’s no a Scout (before anyone complains) but you would think he can recognize if someone has what it takes or not that may not be at the top of Draft Boards.

eaustinyoung
7 months ago

Brady was a milquetoast prospect who ended up being the GOAT. And Arians for all his faults DOES produce good QBs. Drafts are always a gamble. I think a prospect like Trask under the tutelage of the GOAT and the self-proclaimed QB Whisperer could definitely be a good enough QB to be successful with the Bucs current program.

twspin
7 months ago

Great food for thought here Mark. Lotta competition at QB Many will enter the NFL and only a very few will survive. I don’t think our Bucs will start lookin until after next season. But they should in this draft. Trask is interesting. But Somebody else will scoop him up. We shall see how..the worm turns.

drdneast
7 months ago

LIKE death syntaxes, there only two certainfailures in the NFL.
Ohio St and U of F QB’s.

Horse
7 months ago

Very good Article Mark, but I wouldn’t start looking until the third round if I was the Bucs. We still need defensive line in 1st rd, and BPA for the 2n rd.

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  Horse
7 months ago

I agree 100%. Other than DE/IDL, I think we also need a 3rd down back, as I can’t stand to look at Fournette dropping and bobbling almost every pass. QB should be on the board, but idk how early.

cptsora
7 months ago

Umm no we don’t need to draft a QB. We’ll be set for a couple years with Brady. With the way Brady is playing as well. Sorry Mark hard pass.

geno711
Reply to  cptsora
7 months ago

I agree but because, I think there tends to be an assumption from this article that all of our players will be back. Will Suh be here – do you have more value getting the best or 2nd best defensive tackle. Will Barrett be here – do you have more value then getting a pass rush specialist. Will you possibly lose Godwin – because he is a free agent. Will you lose David because he is a free agent.
There clearly might be some position priority over QB if we key in on winning next year, which I would prefer.

Naplesfan
Reply to  cptsora
7 months ago

Firstly, all quarterbacks are subject to injury that can easily end a season, if not a career, no matter how good they are. Tom Brady himself had to sit out one entire season due to injury. Then what do we do? We have no decent backup quarterbacks today – if TB-12 goes down, the Bucs go down. Secondly, what better way to train up a developing young quarterback than under the tutelage of Tom Brady, the GOAT? Tom is a team guy, loves his fellow players, and he already coaches the team, according to none other than Bruce Arians in… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Naplesfan
McKay Curse
7 months ago

I 100% agree with this. As a die-hard Seminole fan, I did watch Trask and I do feel he would fit well in this system. And who better to sit and learn from than the G.O.A.T. himself?

seat26
7 months ago

QBs are such a roll of the dice. But we can’t milk too many more yrs out of Brady. Has to be a high priority in this draft or the next.

Buc stops here
7 months ago

I only hope that Licht is thinking about the future like this article states. Because right now it is really amazing what this team has pulled off on the road three weeks straight, and at QB, at 43 as amazing as he is, the clock is ticking so if they don’t want to fall of a cliff in a year or two, they need to think about the future.

fredster
7 months ago

If the Saints cut Winston he will be available. Lol.
Kidding but you know it’s kind of funny.

Randy H.
Reply to  fredster
7 months ago

I believe that he is on a one year contract, so he will be a FA.

AlbJack65
Reply to  fredster
7 months ago

Not the craziest idea in the world to pick him up if available. It’s Brady’s team now, no question of a split locker room, and Winston has already spent a year on the bench learning behind another legend. He knows Arians’ offense in case Brady were to go down. Another year or two to learn more? Maybe. He’s durable, high energy, motivated. But damn those interceptions derailed him. Unknown if he can correct that aspect of his play. Fran Tarkenton left his original team and returned to find success, albeit by trade. It’s been done, just very rare.

Dave
Reply to  AlbJack65
7 months ago

Him being motivated is definitely debatable

Naplesfan
Reply to  fredster
7 months ago

Not funny.

surferdudes
7 months ago

Hopefully we’ll be picking last in the first round. That would be a perfect spot to pick a QB getting him for four years on a rookie deal. I know we need DT’s, and a edge rusher, but the talented guys are usually gone by 31, 32. Not saying that should be Trask, but if the right guy is there take him. After Brady it’s Gabbert, nothing after that. What better staff, and vet QB than what we have now to bring a young QB along? I’m all for Brady going another 2 seasons, that would set up good with… Read more »

BucHarbour
7 months ago

They need to draft a QB either this year or next. Preferably this year, as the more time one gets under Brady and Arians, the better. If we wait too long, we’ll have to run a couple seasons with a QB with little or no experience, unless another vet QB comes along. Trask would be a perfect fit for this team as he’s already got a little Brady in him. He reads defenses pretty quickly and can make all the throughs that are needed for this offense. Seen plenty of passes at all levels over the last 2 seasons.

Rob
Rob
7 months ago

I don’t hate the idea of Trask in late 2nd round but still think this is our window and we need to do everything to give Brady a winning supporting cast next year and maybe even the next 1-2. I think we’re all overplaying the “learn behind Brady” deal. While it’s certainly a great thing….the backups behind him in NE haven’t exactly lit it up. Hoyer, Mallery, Garrapolo, Cassell, Brissett….I’m just saying. We’re not talking HOF careers just because they were in the same room as him. The window is now and I’ll take 2-3 years of loading it up… Read more »

bucballer
7 months ago

The Bucs r not above drafting a QB. It just has to be value and in the fourth or later rounds. Picks in first, second, and third rounds should be talent or depth that can help u NOW! Not in two or three years. The reality is Brady has 1 maybe 2 years left. U need to draft talent that will be on the field now, hopefully, to help THIS team. We r in a win now mode with Brady. I still think there might be a free agent or three that might want to come to Tampa and finish… Read more »

Marvin
7 months ago

I hope he’s better than that guy(QB) we drafted from Florida St.

owlykat
7 months ago

Totally agree Mark. He is the perfect understudy to Brady. When BA retires the Bucs should hire Brady as our Coach too.

drdneast
Reply to  owlykat
4 months ago

You don’t draft understudies with a No. 2. You draft a starter for the upcoming season.

Naplesfan
7 months ago

Far be it from us mere amateur fans to be telling the Bucs whom they need to draft. There’s lots they know that we don’t know and will probably never know. Aside from that, Kyle Trask could certainly be worth consideration as a tail end first round draft pick .. or perhaps the Bucs could even trade down a few spots and pick up another selection and get him fairly high in the second round. Unfortunately, what we see virtually every year is that every team knows they need a quality quarterback to compete for championships, and consequently most of… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Naplesfan
tnew
7 months ago

Tough picking a QB without a major deficiency past the top 15 anymore, but I would very much be in favor of the Bucs first pick being a QB this year. They do need an edge rusher but those are just as risky in the late picks as QB’s.. What TB12 is doing is truly unbelievable at 43. When the wheels come off, they are going to fly. Having a QB sit behind a starter for a season or two is just incredible for the player’s transition to the NFL. No-one will convince me this wouldn’t have been a huge… Read more »

Benjamin
7 months ago

Honestly I think this would be the best case scenario for the Bucs in the 2021 NFL Draft. I saw quite a few Trask games this season and he looks like a NFL QB. He can make all the throws he would be asked to do in the NFL and he has the mental make up to deal with all the things that will come at a NFL starting QB. We also know he was the internal drive to work on getting better every day, he sat in high school and in college behind other starters so we know that… Read more »

drdneast
Reply to  Benjamin
4 months ago

The Bucs are somewhat thin on both the OL and DL and if they aren’t thin, then five of the front 7 are getting close to filing for social security in football years. Do you see what happened to KC with their OL. What makes you think this team is immune from such disaster. and look what the Chiefs have been doing to correct it. This was a waster pick and I bet Brady isn’t happy with it. It does nothing to help him get his eight ring. See Green Bay pick from last year. The same thing was said… Read more »

drdneast
4 months ago

This pick just SUCKS. Another wasted 2nd round pick by Licht. The future is now and this pick does nothing to help our chances to win a second SB. STUPID!!

Bschucher
Reply to  drdneast
4 months ago

This is one I csnt wait to revisit in two years. Bruce believes in coaching up players and if this kid is coachable, why not take a chance with some of the best qb coaching talent in the NFL? Why doesn’t anyone seem to believe that any of these kids can really get better?

owlykat
4 months ago

I agree to everything You said, Mark!

GoldsonAges
4 months ago

This article aged well

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