TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — As the second round of the NFL draft neared its end, Kyle Trask kept glancing at his cell phone in anticipation of a call.
The former Florida star knew there was a good chance the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were interested in grooming a young quarterback to potentially become Tom Brady’s successor. He’s ecstatic it turns out to be him.
“It’s totally surreal for me. I’m just trying to soak it in and enjoy the moment,” Trask, who completed 69% of his passes for 4,283 yards and 43 touchdowns in his final college season, said Friday night.
“They definitely have a great system going on down in Tampa Bay,” Trask added. “The opportunity to learn from one of the greats that I watched growing up is truly remarkable. … I’m going to come in, work my tail off and do whatever I can to help this team.”
With all 22 starters returning from last season, the Super Bowl champions are drafting players who are not expected to fill significant roles right away.
Brady, coming off winning a seventh NFL title in his first season with Tampa Bay, turns 44 in August. He has said he’d like to play at least until he’s 45.
That gives Trask, the sixth quarterback selected in this year’s draft and 64th pick overall, plenty of time to learn from Brady and backup Ryan Griffin, the only other quarterback currently on the roster.
Five quarterbacks were taken within the first 15 picks of the first round on Thursday night. Trask shrugged off a question about whether he felt slighted by not being drafted earlier.
“I don’t really have much to say about that. I was just trying to keep an open mind,” Trask said. “I can only control what I can control. I was going to be happy with whatever opportunity that I was given.”
If there was a knock on Trask entering draft, it was that he lacks the arm strength of other top prospects, including first-round picks Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones.
Coach Bruce Arians, who’s worked with Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer and now Brady during his long NFL coaching career, said Trask has “more than enough” arm strength to be successful.
“He can make every throw that we want,” Arians said, adding there’s not much to not like about the young prospect.
“We did our homework. Everything about the guy. He’s accurate, he’s smart, he’s tough, he knows hoe to move inside the pocket,” the coach added. “We don’t draft guys to run. We draft them to throw. And, he’s accurate as hell. I’m really excited about him.”
Trask isn’t concerned about having what it takes to be successful.
“I’m always looking to get better. I’m always trying to get bigger, faster, stronger,” Trask said. “But I think I have plenty of arm strength to make all the throws there is to make in the NFL.”
The Bucs selected Washington linebacker Joe Tryon with the last pick of the first round, adding depth behind edge rushers Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul. They finished up Friday by taking versatile Notre Dame offensive lineman Robert Hainsey.
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