Heir apparent? Bucs draft Trask as Brady backup

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hoping they have found the heir to Tom Brady, selecting Florida quarterback Kyle Trask in the second round of the NFL draft Friday with the 64th overall pick.

Trask, the sixth quarterback drafted this year and the first taken after Thursday’s first round, will have to venture only 136 miles down I-75 from Gainesville to play for the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.

“Staying in Florida is amazing,” said Trask, who grew up in Manvel, Texas. “I loved my time at the University of Florida. To have the opportunity to continue my career right down the road is amazing. I love the state of Florida. I’m glad I get to stay there for now.”

Trask completed 552 of 813 passes for 7,386 yards and 69 touchdowns in 28 career games with the Gators. He passed for 4,283 yards and had nine consecutive games with at least three touchdown passes last season, and also set a single-season SEC record with five 400-yard passing games.

Trask is the first Gators quarterback drafted since Tim Tebow went 25th overall in 2010, and he’s also the first quarterback drafted by the Bucs since Jameis Winston was selected first overall in 2015.

Florida coach Dan Mullen tweeted a congratulatory message to Trask, calling him the “true definition of perseverance and grit” and adding that Trask’s “patience and hard work has paid off. Looking forward to watching you on Sundays for a long time.”

Trask’s 43 passing touchdowns led the FBS in 2020, and he broke Danny Wuerffel’s 24-year-old school record of 39, tying him for third on the SEC single-season record list behind Joe Burrow and Drew Lock.

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The Bucs can take their time with Trask, who will develop behind both Brady, who is under contract for two more seasons, and Ryan Griffin, who was the third-string quarterback last year.

Brady, who won his seventh Super Bowl in his first season with Tampa Bay, turns 44 in August and has repeatedly said he’d like to play at least until he’s 45.

“They definitely have a great system going on there in Tampa Bay. The opportunity to learn [from] one of the greats I watched growing up, that’s been one of my favorites — to have that opportunity is truly remarkable,” Trask said of Brady. “But nevertheless, I’m gonna come in and work my tail off and do whatever I can to help this team.”

Trask said he kept an open mind throughout the pre-draft process, but admitted Tampa Bay was one of his favorites. He had a strong familiarity with its explosive offense because Bucs games are televised in Gainesville.

“I definitely wasn’t 100 percent sure about anything just because I know how crazy the draft can be,” he said. “I was just super excited when I saw that Tampa, Florida, number call me. It was a feeling like no other. … I was just like, ‘Man, it was unbelievable.'”

“I just think the organization’s in a great spot right now,” Trask added. “I just got along so great with all the offensive coaches in all the Zooms, and being able to talk with them at pro day and things like that along the way. So I’m just really looking forward to getting started and putting in the work and doing whatever I can to help the team.”

Tampa Bay’s selection of Trask with the last pick in the second round started a run on quarterbacks. Two spots after he was selected, the Minnesota Vikings took Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond at No. 66 overall, followed by the Houston Texans’ pick of Stanford’s Davis Mills at No. 67.

The eight quarterbacks selected in the top 70 overall picks were the most in a single draft in the common draft era, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.

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