Trey Lance is the most compelling player in the 2021 draft class. He can do it all. Runs a 4.55 forty yard dash, has one of the most powerful arms in college football, doesn't throw interceptions, and for a little cherry on top, his 6'3 221-pound frame. I already know you're thinking that Lance is a superstar from this description, but you can't tell. Lance has played one full season at NDSU, and in that season, he had 42 total touchdowns, ZERO interceptions, with 2,786 passing yards and 1,100 yards rushing (even though college football deducts sack yards from their rushing total). No doubt that Trey Lance is a talented quarterback. Those stats are outstanding, but the only thing to be concerned about is his readiness for the NFL.
Trey Lance's negative draft profile is minimal, but the things that are listed are worrisome. If you didn't know, NDSU is the powerhouse of DII football. Trey Lance has played some weak competition with some great teammates, and he's going to have to adjust to the NFL. That adjustment could take much longer than a D1 QB because he isn't facing teams with any NFL ready players.
The other big issue is his small sample size. He only played one season at NDSU as a starter and isn't playing this year because of his choice to opt-out due to COVID-19. He did play one showcase game against Oregon, which was his real test this year, playing against his first ranked team. In that game, he had 149 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, one interception, 143 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, and a 50% completion rate (15/30 passes complete). By no means, is that considered to be a bad game, especially against Oregon, but some NFL analysts are very critical that he threw the one interception and only had 149 passing yards. Even though he made up for it with all of the rushing yards he got. A national NFL scout said this about Trey Lance's small college football sample size, "Recent history has not been kind to the 1-year wonder surge guys. It has not been ideal for the picks of guys like Mitch Trubisky, Blake Bortles, Dwayne Haskins, DeShone Kizer, Paxton Lynch, etc. At [Lance's] level of competition, you want to have more than a good season. I like him though, but not ready to crown him just yet." This scout is 100% correct. I think Lance's talent is undeniable, but the fact that 1-year college quarterbacks have not been great in recent history is also undeniable.
Lance only has one part of his play that you can see needs development, and that is his field vision. Lance has issues seeing the field, as he can lock onto his primary read, take off running when his first read is covered, and be slow to look off and work through his progressions. The only reason he didn't have problems with this last year was that his wide receivers were so dominant.
Now, let's get into his positive draft profile. Trey Lance is being compared to, by many NFL scouts, Deshaun Watson. Lance is 6'3 and 221 pounds. Watson is 6'2 and 220 pounds. They have very similar builds and very similar play styles. Also, the success of Carson Wentz has paved a path for future NDSU QBs.
Lance was a red-shirt sophomore this year, so he is very young, and has a lot of room for growth and development. In my opinion, Trey Lance is a quarterback who needs to sit behind a veteran QB and learn behind him before he makes his appearance in the NFL. You can see the talent and the skill-set that Lance has, but Lance has some issues when it comes to having confidence in throwing through tight windows. I could only assume this is because he doesn't want to throw interceptions, and he knows that he has the capabilities to tuck and run for a gain on every play. In the NFL, Lance can't do that every time. The defenses are too aware and too prepared for Lance to run as much as he does. Some teams with old, regressing quarterbacks that have too much football IQ to go to waste, should consider drafting Lance, and he can sit behind their QB for a season or maybe even two. Some teams that come to mind are the Chicago Bears, Washington Football Team, Atlanta Falcons, or possibly the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Some scouts were asked on their opinion of Lance after they saw some of his game, and one scout explained, "I think he's a very good player, but at that position, I'm a firm believer in body of work and he has a very small sample size at this point. He's got tools to work, and he's not the first young pup to be pushed up. Every year there's someone, but we have to let it play out." Trey Lance has precise deep ball accuracy that is unlike any other QB in college football. Yes, that includes Trevor Lawrence. He can throw a ball 70 yards downfield on the dot. Some would even say that his deep pass accuracy is better than his short pass accuracy. If he can avoid pressure and set his feet, he easily a top 10 passer in college football, maybe a top 5.
If you want to see Trey Lance play for yourself check out this link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRODmLBT5G0&feature=emb_title) it will bring you to a 10 minute video of Trey Lances highlights. If you enjoyed this article, make sure to follow my Instagram @eagles.allday!