One of the more interesting stories in the 2021 NFL Draft process has been North Dakota State QB Trey Lance. Due to the coronavirus, North Dakota State was forced to postpone their football season. As a result, we only saw Trey Lance in one game this season, a matchup against Central Arkansas. In that game, Lance looked mediocre at best. Therefore, I’ve decided to omit the 2020 season for Trey Lance, so it will not be included in my 2021 NFL Draft scouting report.
In this scouting report, we’ll examine Trey Lance’s background, before turning on the tape and breaking down his skillset. Finally, I’ll provide my scouting report and a final verdict.
Trey Lance was a three-star recruiting prospect out of Minnesota according to 24/7 Sports. In the 2018 recruiting class, Lance was listed as the eighth overall prospect in the state, as well as the 49th dual-threat QB nationally.
Prior to committing to North Dakota State University, Lance had offers from South Dakota State and Northern Illinois. While he did not receive an offer from the Univeristy, Trey Lance was also heavily involved at Minnesota, attending their camp, Junior Day, as well as an unofficial visit.
Trey Lance enrolled at NDSU in June of 2018. Lance would redshirt in 2018, his first season at North Dakota State.
In 2019, as a redshirt freshman, Trey Lance started in all 16 games for the program. Lance finished with a 66.9% completion percentage, as well as 2,786 passing yards, 28 touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
As mentioned previously, NDSU’s 2020 football season was postponed due to COVID-19. I have omitted their 2020 game against Central Arkansas, but do feel like I must include the stat line here. Trey Lance finished the game going 15/30 with 149 passing yards, as well as 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.
What I Like About Trey Lance
It’s time to turn on the tape and examine what makes Trey Lance special. I’ve included three clips below that I feel best highlights what Lance does well for NDSU. Furthermore, these three clips are traits that translate to the NFL quite well.
Ball Placement On Downfield Throws Outside The Numbers
This throw, against Northern Iowa, is one that you see quite a bit on Sundays in the NFL. Working from under center, Trey Lance hits his dropback in a timely manner and sets his feet rather quickly. This ball is perfectly placed, although it could be a tad bit higher. However, it’s put where only the receiver can make a play on the ball, which is all that you can ask of your quarterback in this situation.
Quickness To Identify Pressure And Escape Pocket
Through his dropback, Lance keeps his eyes downfield, while also identifying pressure from the defensive front. In this game, NDSU consistently faced pressure off the right side of the offensive line, which Lance picks up on this play. Once identified, Lance steps up into the pocket and escapes up and out to the left side. At a full sprint, Trey Lance is difficult to catch as he picks up the yardage necessary for the first down.
Contact Balance And Vision To Find Open Lanes
Trey Lance isn’t going to outrun any defenders on this play, but does provide a great effort nonetheless. On the snap, Lance keeps the ball and starts upfield. Almost immediately, the linebacker is there in the open field. The North Dakota State quarterback is able to elude the defender and continue upfield for additional yardage. Trey Lance is able to break another tackle and fight for every yard until he’s finally brought down.
What I Dislike About Trey Lance
As with all of our scouting reports, we like to include game films that spotlight what a player does well, as well as areas where they need to improve. Below, I’ve attached three clips that highlight areas in which Trey Lance must improve upon.
Pocket Poise and Internal Clock
On any given Sunday, this play almost certainly ends in a sack. Trey Lance is nearly able to work out of this one and push the ball downfield, but he is unable to get the ball out quick enough. However, at the next level, Lance will need to be more decisive. As shown on the previous page, the quarterback has the athletic ability to make plays outside of the pocket, which could have helped him here, too.
Throwing Accuracy On Mid-Range Throws
This is a simple ‘pitch-and-catch’ type of throw for an NFL quarterback. Unfortunately, Trey Lance’s accuracy on some of these throws are just off. We saw this quite a bit during the 2020 game against Central Arkansas, which is likely chalked up to a lack of practice due to Covid-19. However, these are a concern for me If I’m in an NFL front office, I’m paying close attention to North Dakota State’s pro day.
Throwing Accuracy Across The Middle Of The Field
This clip is another example of Lance’s inaccuracy concerns, but this time it’s across the middle of the field. As I mentioned above, this would concern me as an NFL evaluator. I want to see him step up and work from a busy pocket with more confidence. He’s shown the ability to make every throw on the field, so that isn’t an issue.
- Throwing Velocity
- Ball Accuracy On Deep Throws Downfield
- Contact Balance On Designed Runs
- Internal Clock Inside Pocket
- Ball Placement On Simple Throws
- Throwing Release Quickness
Despite not playing a full season in 2020, due to the coronavirus, Trey Lance still remains a top quarterback prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft class. However, I would have liked to of seen a larger sample size before seeing him declare. As it stands, with only one full season at quarterback, Trey Lance is your classic ‘high-risk’ quarterback prospect. Regardless, when you turn on the film, Lance clearly possesses high-level traits that you want to see out of a franchise quarterback. I don’t believe that Trey Lance is a pro-ready prospect at this moment, rather, would benefit strongly from a year or two behind a seasoned veteran QB.