NCAA Football, NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft: Is Kyle Trask worth a first-round pick? Re-thinking Ian Book’s pro potential

Kyle Trask is the hot new Heisman favorite and is rising up 2021 NFL Draft boards but can the Florida quarterback crack the first round?

There is no hotter player in college football right now than Florida senior quarterback Kyle Trask. History has taught us that there is a player who comes from nowhere and has a stellar season. Cam Newton did it at Auburn in 2010, and Joe Burrow came from nowhere just last season. Both quarterbacks parlayed their magical seasons into the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.

While Trask won’t go that high, he is shooting up draft boards. When the process began, Trask was projected to be a late-round pick or priority free agent. Many boards have Trask as a second or third-round pick and moving up fast.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper currently ranks Trask fourth behind Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields and Trey Lance. There is no telling how high Trask could ascend. The draft shows every season; it just takes one team to fall in love with you.

NFL Draft stock rising

Kyle Trask, Florida, QB (2-3 Round)

Trask was impressive this weekend because the numbers he put up — 23-of-29, 356 yards and six touchdowns — were without Kyle Pitts. Trask is piling up the records as well. The redshirt senior has more touchdown passes through six games (28) than anyone in SEC history. Only Graham Harrell has more in six games in the last 20 years. Trask’s current pace will break Florida’s single-season touchdown mark set by Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel.

Trask’s tape is true as well. The Texas native has an NFL-caliber arm though it is not elite. Trask throws with tremendous accuracy and timing. However, Trask is a limited athlete. He can get away from pressure but is not a runner. At the next level, Trask could be a mid-tier starting quarterback.

Sage Surratt, North Carolina, OLB (2nd Round)

The former quarterback was active once again for the North Carolina Tar Heels against Wake Forest with 14 total tackles and a sack. The Wake Forest game was Surratt’s third game with ten or more tackles. Surratt has proven to be a sideline to sideline player with the ability to track down plays on the backside. When Surratt is sent on a blitz, he gets home, as proven by five sacks on the season. Surratt sheds blockers well; he’s needed to this season playing behind a defensive line that is not always active.

Surratt has improved in pass coverage, demonstrating an ability to drop and play his zone. Surratt is willing but needs to improve in man to man coverage. Surratt’s size, speed and athleticism can fit either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense, with Surratt able to kick inside in a 3-4.

Ian Book, Notre Dame, QB (4-6 Round)

Ian Book has been impressive in his last three games, throwing for 792 yards and five touchdowns. Two weeks ago, Book led the Irish to a victory against the No. 1 Clemson. Book has peaked at the right time for Notre Dame. This current run Book is on guarantees his name will be called on draft day. Book’s game against Clemson demonstrated an ability to make plays when needed.

Like Garner Minshew a year ago, Book is a mid to late-round pick who could have a long career as a backup at the next level. Book does not possess any elite traits and is a bit undersized. However, the California native can absorb a playbook and do whatever is asked. Don’t be surprised to see Book wearing headsets as an offensive coordinator with Tommy Rees takes over when Brian Kelly retires.

Injuries could potentially hurt the NFL Draft stock of these players

Kyle Pitts, Florida, TE (1st Round)

While it is doubtful that an injury — barring something that is career-threatening — would affect where Pitts is drafted, the Florida tight end does not want to garner the reputation of being injury-prone. First, Pitts had issues with his foot; now, the junior is in concussion protocol and recovering from nasal surgery stemming from a helmet-to-helmet hit suffered against Georgia.

However, Pitts has enough tape for scouts to know exactly what they are getting from the Philadelphia native. Pitts is long with big hands. Physically, Pitts is too large to cover with a safety and too fast to cover with a linebacker. Pitts can line up out wide or inline. Though Pitts is a willing blocker, he fits the mold of the receiving tight end.

Kwity Paye, Michigan, DE (1st Round)

Kwity Paye, Michigan’s best defensive linemen, missed the Wisconsin game with what is believed to be a groin injury. It is possible Paye also misses time against Rutgers. The fear with an injury like this is its persistence. Paye does not want this to become a nagging injury that limits any lower body explosiveness.

Paye is a nightmare for opposing offensive coordinators. The senior defensive end is equally physical against the run and the pass. Paye combines both technique and raw strength as a pass rusher and a willingness to set the edge and string out running plays. Paye also has the speed to track downplays if left unblocked on the backside.

Next: 2021 NFL Draft Big Board

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