The Green Bay Packers are taking the week off so I’m taking a week off of scouting for the Green Bay Packers.
The Green Bay Packers don’t need a quarterback. The last thing I want to do is talk about the future of the Packers’ QB situation. I’m here to talk about three SEC quarterbacks that are on the verge of a breakout season, because the Packers may face them some day.
K.J. Costello, Mac Jones, and Kyle Trask are all making their names known. Where do they land as NFL prospects?
K.J. Costello – Missippi St, Senior
K.J. Costello had some moments at Stanford that made us believe that he could lead an NFL offense but injuries and inconsistencies last year, along with the run-heavy Stanford offense pushed the 6′ 5″, 225-pound Costello into the transfer portal. He landed in Mississippi St with Mike Leach’s Air Raid Offense and couldn’t have had a better start to his 2020 season.
In Costello’s first game with the Bulldogs, he broke the SEC record for passing yards in a single game, with 623, along with 5 touchdown passes, en-route to a 44 – 34 upset victory against the defending National Champs, LSU.
That’s an impressive start for a grad transfer in his first action with a new offense, though I forgot to mention, Costello threw 2 interceptions in that LSU matchup. He followed that up with three interceptions against Arkansas and only 1 touchdown pass, leading to a 14-21 loss for the Bulldogs. Safe to say, Costello has come back down to Earth a bit, though his play against LSU cannot be ignored.
In that game, Costello showed great touch delivering to the short and intermediate levels of the field. He does a great job of putting his receivers in position to rack up yards after the catch.
Ball-security is a serious concern for Costello. He doesn’t have a good sense for the underneath zone, and defenders often under-cut his passes over the short middle of the field. Costello is second in interceptions thrown per game in the NCAA.
He also displays poor ball-control in the pocket. Far too often, Costello drops the ball to his hip with one hand when pressure approaches, which is the opposite of what you want to see. His lengthy release exacerbates this issue. Costello will have fumbling issues in the NFL if he doesn’t improve his ball-security mechanics.
While Costello lacks ball-control skills in the pocket, he does show poise. He shows quick feet, can get to his drop in a hurry, and deliver off-platform. He doesn’t get anxious and can see the pass-rush and the field simultaneously. Costello isn’t afraid to take a hit and lets the play develop, though he has a tendency to hold onto the ball too long.
At the end of the day, Costello has the tools to be a starter in the NFL. He’s got an NFL frame, good footwork, a strong arm, and accuracy at every level of the field. He’s a gamer and a good locker room guy. Costello will need to show improved ball skills and vision in the short-game. As it stands, Costello is a likely third-round pick
Mac Jones – Alabama, Junior (RS)
There were concerns about what the Alabama offense would look like after losing first-round selections Tua Tagovailoa, Henry Ruggs III, and Jerry Jeudy. Mac Jones has squashed those concerns, with the help of Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith.
While the 6′ 3″, 214-pound Jones has proven capable of operating Alabama’s spread offense, questions remain about whether or not he can be successful in the NFL.
Jones can battle for the title of “Most Accurate Passer in the NCAA”. He can throw guys open and throw away from the defense… within the short and intermediate-range.
Jones’ downfall is his lack of arm strength, which isn’t something he can suddenly flash – he doesn’t have it. He can’t make every NFL throw which will limit his potential in the league. But he does so many things well that we want to like him.
Jones is a study-aholic – he knows the coverage he’s facing and he always has a plan. He’s meticulous with his footwork and ball-handling, which helps makes him a pro from within the pocket. “Methodical” is the word that sticks out when you watch Mac Jones
Jones has the makings of a top NFL backup – the kind that can come in and actually win games. His starting potential, however, is minimized by his lack of arm strength. Jones is a likely 3rd – 5th rounder. Some organization might be sucked in by his early 2020 production but even that hasn’t blown the doors off.
Mac Jones is a third-day pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He will be a disappointment if he’s expected to start.
Kyle Trask – Florida, Senior (RS)
Kyle Trask took over as the starting quarterback for the Gators early last season, due to an injury to Felipe Franks, and he played well enough to force Franks to transfer to Arkansas. While the 6′ 5″, 240- pound Trask led Florida’s offense well, he often left scouts wanting more.
Trask was accurate in 2019 and displayed an absolute cannon of an arm, but he didn’t display it often enough. This season, however, Trask has let it fly more often, resulting in improved productivity for the Florida offense.
It has also resulted in an improved draft grade from “this guy”. Trask has had control of the first two games, and there’s never been any doubt. He’s an NFL field general. If you’re looking for a comparison, Wyoming’s Josh Allen is a good place to start.
Trask shows ridiculous poise in the pocket. He has a big body and partners it with above-average feet and rush ability. While Trask isn’t Justin Fields or even Trevor Lawrence with the ball in his hands, Kyle can run. He’s a bull and he’s shown it more than once.
Trask is a big body that has the potential to develop even more as a passer. Allen was the 7th overall selection. Im positive that in time, Trask will be right there. He’s “my guy” going forward.
These three cannot be more different. Costello has fought for his everything, which gives him some Phillip Rivers-esque value. He’s grown through his 11 or 12 years of starting experience.
Mac Jones probably reminds ‘Bama fans of Greg McElroy, with his consistency.
Kyle Trask, however, can take the world by storm. If he continues to produce in this way, he’ll compete with Justin Fields for the 2nd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
This won’t be a fan-friendly article, because the Packers aren’t selecting a quarterback anytime soon. However, all of our NFC North opponents should be in the market.
The Lions are only tied to Matt Stafford through the 2022 season and they’ll likely drop HC Matt Patricia after this season. They should be in position for their QB of the future – that could be Trask in the top-5.
K.J. Costello would be a good arm to compete with Kirk Cousins. Cousins has proven to be one of the most inconsistent arms in the NFL. Costello isn’t a reprieve from that but he CAN compete for a starting role.
The Chicago Bears have two disappointing quarterbacks. Foles has a ring and Trubisky doesn’t have a thing – the Bears don’t have a commitment to either player… If they decide on a starter, they need a cheap backup. Mac Jones should be in the market, as he’s already drawn Caleb Haney comparisons (from me).
The Green Bay Packers have so many needs for the 2021 NFL Draft… none of which are quarterback. However, ever other team in the NFC North should be investing in the quarterback position. Let’s have fun and watch them struggle.
You can talk about their struggles here, with us, at Game On Wisconsin.