2021 NFL Draft Prospects: Trey Lance

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Merry Christmas and happy holidays! At East West Football Network, our love for football has no days off, so today we are looking at North Dakota State’s dual threat quarterback Trey Lance, who sizes in at 6’4″ 225 lbs. Due to the FCS’s season cancelation, Lance’s only opportunity to follow up on a 0-interception 2019 season in 2020 was a showcase game in October against Central Arkansas.

Note: This is a combined scouting report between fellow writer and analyst Alex Greb and I, who runs Bold Take Scouting with me. We studied Lance separately and compared notes, which were very similar and motivated us to do a combined report, which I wrote using both our notes, for the most thorough analysis. Enjoy!

Strengths: Lance is a real dual-threat quarterback. He has elite arm talent, with an impressive ability to make all the throws and deliver the ball with effortless zip. He flashes a beautiful deep ball that displays his arm strength, touch, timing, and placement. He is a great runner, as he is athletic, elusive, and tough. He was asked to run a lot at North Dakota State, and was very successful. Defenses will always have to be wary of his running threat. This mobility also translates to escapability to avoid sacks, as well as ability to extend the play when scrambling. Lance is calm and collected in the pocket with good awareness and feel. Against pass rush, he keeps his eyes downfield, stands tall, and makes the throw, showing he is unafraid to take a hit, just like when he runs. Lance’s accuracy is decent, especially when throwing from the pocket. He flashes improvisational ability that can become a real plus in his game if properly developed. Lance makes good decisions, rarely throwing the ball into danger, as evidenced by his 0 interceptions in 2019. He goes through his progressions well, and is always aware of where his checkdown option is. He was rarely asked to throw to tight windows, but he flashed the ability to do so. Lance is said to be confident, mature, fearless, and driven by a chip on his shoulder resulting from being often overlooked on his path to the NFL. 

Weaknesses: Lance is a one-year starter at the FCS level, meaning that he quite simply did not get thrown at him anything near what the other top QB prospects have, and that he will face a severe adjustment to the NFL. He rarely had to make NFL-like tight window throws, and was never asked to be a high-volume passer, as his legs were always a sure bet to beat any FCS defense. The opposing pass rush and scheme complexity was nothing like what he will see in the NFL. His field vision was good, but will this follow in the much faster, more complex NFL? Lance’s accuracy was also very inconsistent and spotty, as a result of inconsistent footwork. Often Lance would fail to reset his body and feet before throwing, and on the run his mechanics would completely falter. His tape revealed a good amount of high throws and throws on a downward trajectory that made the wide receiver crouch down. Lance’s ball security is an issue, as a lack of blindside awareness at times and his high volume running resulted in some fumbles. He will also need to learn how to slide in the NFL in order to last as a dual threat QB.

Bottom Line: Lance possesses all the physical tools to succeed in the NFL, but the learning curve he faces as a 1-year FCS starter with footwork issues cannot be understated. Crucially, Lance is a much better decision-maker than many developmental prospects we have seen at QB, and his character reviews check out well. This means that there is a real chance he can realize his very high upside, but he will certainly have to sit a full year and go through a lot of successful coaching and development in order for that to happen.

Draft Projection: Early-mid Round 1

As always, don’t hesitate to follow @boldtakescouting on Instagram and tune into the Bold Take Scouting Podcast on Spotify!

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