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Why Mel Kiper Jr. is praising former Gators star Kyle Trask

ESPN’s NFL draft guru called Trask “limited” but still sees him as an early-round pick.
Kyle Trask, who starred at Florida, seems like a second-round pick, according to ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.
Kyle Trask, who starred at Florida, seems like a second-round pick, according to ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. [ JOHN RAOUX | AP ]
Published Mar. 1
Updated Mar. 1

Kyle Trask’s rise from high school and college backup to Heisman Trophy finalist and future NFL quarterback has drawn the praise of a lot of fans and observers from across the country, including ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.

“He came a long way in terms of what he was able to do during his career to get to the point where you’re talking about a second-round pick,” Kiper said Monday during a teleconference with reporters. “It’s pretty amazing, from where he was to where he is right now.”

The 6-foot-5 Trask broke Danny Wuerffel’s school record with 43 touchdown passes last season and topped Rex Grossman’s mark with 356.9 passing yards per game.

Related: Gators’ Emory Jones has been waiting for this time. Is he ready?

Kiper said he doesn’t view Trask as a late first-round pick but instead considers him a Day 2 prospect. One intriguing destination: Backing up Ben Roethlisberger with the Steelers.

“I think Pittsburgh would be a team looking for an heir apparent to Ben,” Kiper said.

Kiper mentioned Washington and the 49ers as other possible landing spots for Trask. Regardless, Trask would be the first quarterback drafted directly out of Florida since Tim Tebow in 2010.

Kiper called Trask “limited” and a pocket passer rather than a dual-threat option. Kiper likes Trask’s accuracy (he was 11th nationally with a 68.9 completion percentage) but said he could lock onto receivers at times.

“He doesn’t give you much in the way of mobility in terms of putting pressure on the offensive line,” Kiper said.

Kiper also noted how Trask thrived with a great supporting cast, including All-American tight end Kyle Pitts.

Kyle Pitts was an All-American tight end at Florida and will end up as a very high pick in this spring's NFL draft.
Kyle Pitts was an All-American tight end at Florida and will end up as a very high pick in this spring's NFL draft. [ BRYNN ANDERSON | AP ]

The 6-foot-6 Pitts won the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end. His 1,492 receiving yards were the most ever by a Gators tight end, and his 100 catches were the second-most ever.

Kiper said Pitts is a top-five selection and “could be the second-best player on a lot of teams’ boards.”

UF’s pro day is scheduled for March 31.