CLEVELAND, OH – Names such as Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, and most recently Zach Wilson of BYU have been on the minds and lips of NFL Draft experts for months. The one name that many also mention, and who may be arguably the one to keep an eye on is Trey Lance from North Dakota State.
Lance, a 6’3, 223-pounder out of Canby, Minnesota, first came onto the national scene as a redshirt freshman up in Fargo after winning notable awards such as; 2019 FCS Offensive Player of the year, Division One Championship game Most Outstanding Player, and 2019 FCS National Performer of the year.
During that season, Lance completed 192-287 passes for 2,786 yards, 28 TDs, zero interceptions, and added another 169 carries for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground.
Clearly an athletic dual-threat QB that can beat teams on the ground with his legs and the air with his arm, Lance could either be the second coming of Josh Allen or former NFL bust Josh Freeman. What may either help or hurt Lance’s NFL stock is the fact that he only played one full season of FBS football in 2019.
COVID-19 cut short what would have been his sophomore year this past year, with the exception of a showcase game vs. Central Arkansas where he completed 15-of-30 passes for two touchdowns, one interception and added another 143 yards rushing on 15 carries and two TD’s in a 39-28 win, Lance has slightly more than a dozen games be properly evaluated by the front office of QB-needy teams.
Teams such as Atlanta, San Francisco, Denver, New England and Chicago could be possibly looking either for a potential face of the franchise or the heir apparent to a veteran already in place. In seeing and looking at Lance, he is mobile, has quality arm strength and a knack for making big plays downfield.
What may hinder his potential draft stock, is that he is still a bit raw in only playing 14 games against FCS opponents. Not trying to knock or criticize, but you can bet every scout, GM and owner has already broke down and studied every game, throw and team that Lance lined up against.
Is Lance a top-five pick?
Honestly, no. Unless a team desperate for a QB wants to gamble on him and move up to grab him, that is the only way that Lance is picked in the top ten. Honestly, due to the above, look for Lance to drop into the teens.
Dallas at No.10 (Dak Prescott contract drama), San Francisco at No.12 (uncertainty over Jimmy G), the forementioned Patriots at No.15 (no Tom Brady, Cam Newton experiment flopped), Washington Football Team at no.19 (Alex Smith retired) and the Chicago Bears (Nick Foles-Mitchell Trubisky carousel needs to end!) are likely to either trade up for him or rush up to the virtual podium and select him with their pick.
Lance is a very intriguing prospect with a lot of potential, but in my opinion, he isn’t worth all the hype and buzz that he is garnering and a team would be wise to let him drop to them instead of reaching for what could be a potential average to mediocre prospect.