2021 NFL Draft Profile: QB Trey Lance
If you ask any scout, draft media personality, or even a random person off the street about who the most polarizing prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft is, nine out of 10 will answer with Trey Lance.
Lance has only 17 career starts under his belt, but the tape that he has put together is worthy of a top-5 NFL Draft pick. In 2019, Lance put together some jaw-dropping film that forced some chatter heading into the 2020 CFB season about whether or not he should be discussed as QB1 in this class over Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, North Dakota State only played one game in 2020 against Central Arkansas, and it wasn’t Lance’s best performance.
Was this lackluster outing due to rust? Was it due to a lack of chemistry with his receiving weapons due to a shortened off-season? Was it maybe due to the immense amount of pressure he was under, knowing that this was going to be his only game of the season?
Whatever the reason, it’s forced some intense discussions heading into the 2021 NFL Draft. All the tools and traits are there to be a potential superstar QB in the NFL, but will an NFL team view his inexperience and playing at a lower level of competition as too much of a risk?
Is there a ton of risk in Lance’s tape? Or is this all being overblown, and Lance should be viewed as a locked-in top-5 NFL Draft pick?
These questions are answered here in our scouting profile on Trey Lance.
QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State
Weight: 226 lbs.
Hands: 9 1/8
Skills Breakdown (out of 100)
Accuracy (77): Overall, a prospect that is dripping with upside. Incredible talent with both his legs and his arm. Tremendous accuracy at all levels of the field. Able to hit his receivers in stride in the short, intermediate, and deep passing game.
Decision-Making (74): Good decision-making on tape and very few career turnovers. He rarely throws the ball into questionable windows and doesn’t crumble in the face of pressure and spin backwards, etc.
Mental Processing (75): Good mental processing and the ability to go through reads quickly. Struggled in the James Madison and Central Arkansas games when the coverage was a little bit tighter to pull the trigger and held onto the ball just a little bit longer than normal. Several factors could play a role in that, though. He does show a high football IQ and ability to go process the field quickly.
Arm Strength (80): Incredible arm strength. Able to send it all over the field and fit it into any window. Can send it 50 yards downfield on a rope and should be in the discussion for strongest arm in the NFL from day one.
Pocket Presence (78): Tremendous ability to navigate the pocket. Able to sidestep pressure easily while keeping his eyes downfield and also step up in the pocket. Should adjust to the NFL game well in this aspect.
Mechanics (79): Tremendous and consistent mechanics. Feet are tied to the eyes always and consistently throwing from a solid base. Feet aren’t too wide or too far forward. Able to throw from the same platform nearly every single time. Able to throw on the run well too.
Improvisation (78): Able to improvise and extend plays when the reads aren’t there. Excellent out in the open field on the run. He keeps his eyes downfield when he breaks contain and only looks to run when he has to.
Poise (75): Able to stand in the pocket well under pressure and still deliver the ball when pressure is right in his face. Saw a slight regression from his 2019 tape in 2020, but a lot of factors could have played a role in this for him.
Athleticism (83): Insane athleticism for a player of his size. Tremendous top-end speed and should easily see 5+ designed runs a week in the NFL. Has the questions of a one-game 2020 season hanging over his head which he did not play extremely well in. Additionally, also the talent level conversation has to be taken into account. Being able to sit for a while in the NFL would be his ideal situation, but he has the upside to be a top-3 QB in the NFL within a year or two. He shouldn’t fall outside of the top-5 picks.
– #RingerNFL (@ringernfl) March 16, 2021
Who is your NFL comp for Trey Lance?
– PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 19, 2021
They Said It
Projected Draft Range
As mentioned above, Lance has some questions surrounding him that are simply out of his control. Whether it’s the competition level jump, the number of overall passes he’s thrown, or anything else that’s nit-picking, there are going to be nay-sayers. However, Lance is a perfect fit for where the NFL is going at the QB position with his blend of arm strength, mobility, and improvisation. Lance isn’t getting outside the top-10 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, and there’s a strong possibility he doesn’t make it past pick No. 8.
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spot
For Lance, the ideal landing spot would be a situation where he’s allowed to sit and learn for a little bit before taking over as the starting QB. While that doesn’t need to be an extended length of time, it would be the best for his long-term projection. With that in mind, Carolina at No. 8 overall is the perfect spot for Lance in the 2021 NFL Draft. He can sit behind Teddy Bridgewater for a few games and then step in and take over whenever Matt Rhule deems him to be ready.
Lance sits at 6’4/226lbs, which is nearly identical measurements to the current Dallas Cowboys QB. Dak Prescott was 6’2/226lbs at the Combine coming out of Mississippi State, and he plays a very similar style of football to Lance. Trey might have more top-end speed and should be utilized more as a runner than Prescott, but they’re both going to win in similar ways in the NFL.
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