It seems like the 2020 NFL Draft just happened, but we move fast here at The Draft Network.
Currently going through summer evaluations for the 2021 NFL Draft class, our scouting team of Kyle Crabbs, Joe Marino, Jordan Reid, and Drae Harris are meeting up every day to discuss prospects, traits, and concepts. New to TDN is a daily scouting roundtable where we go through and identify the most important points of conversation from that day’s meeting.
On Monday, we had an in-depth discussion about NDSU star QB Trey Lance, analyzing both his film and his pro future.
Currently playing at the FCS Level, Lance wasn’t considered a high recruit coming out of high school in Minnesota, which is part of the reason he’s such an easy player to root for.
Starting all 16 games last season as a redshirt freshman, Lance helped lead NDSU to their typical perfect season, dominating nearly every opponent they faced and winning the National Title to top it all off. Powerful in the designed run game and athletic enough to create off-script, Lance displayed the physical tools of your typical NDSU QB, looking similar at times to names like Brock Jensen, Easton Stick, and Carson Wentz.
Where Lance was able to differ from those first two, however, was with his pure ability to throw the football. Showing off easy velocity and a beautiful deep ball, his efficient success (0 interceptions thrown all season) was eye-popping, even for an FCS starter. It’s this quality of play that allowed Lance to earn nearly every accolade possible a season ago, putting him squarely on the NFL radar as a result.
Harris went back to the tape and had positive things to say about the NDSU signal-caller, specifically relating to his arm strength.
“He throws a beautiful ball,” Harris said. “The ball jumps out of his hands and he demonstrates the ability to accurately throw 5 routes from the far hash. His strong base (also) helps him generate excellent velocity and allows him to fit balls into tight windows.”
Additionally, Harris highlighted Lance’s strong athletic capabilities.
“Trey is a good athlete with very functional upper body strength. He does a terrific job escaping the pocket when necessary. He can extend plays with his legs and needs to be accounted for in the zone-read game.
“(Lance) will be a top-32 pick. You can write that in ink.”
Although the good certainly outweighs the bad with Lance, he isn’t yet a perfect prospect by any means. This specifically revolves around both his ability to take care of his body and his overall accuracy.
“He needs to do a better job protecting himself and (he) takes a lot of clean hits during a game,” Harris voiced after studying the film. “He didn’t slide once in the four games charted and that’s an issue.”
Furthermore, Harris noted that the NDSU passer was “inconsistent on deep balls” and his accuracy would worsen as games went on.
Reid also shared a few concerns, despite being extremely high on Lance himself.
“My only fear with (Lance) is that we aren’t going to see the true form with him until he enters the league, because (NDSU) is going to ground and pound. Statistically, he also can’t play better than he played last season.”
The high expectations after his miraculous 2019 season seem to be a common worry for Lance, especially given his efficiency numbers didn’t tell the whole story. Crabbs emphasized just that, mentioning: “I watched two games in early May and I thought because he’s so naturally fielded that he kind of played with a looseness to him. So that (no interceptions thing) he had last season seemed like a bit of an anomaly."
All in all, Lance has things to work on, but the talent, as Harris and the rest of the staff elaborated on, is undeniable. It remains to be seen whether he declares after this upcoming season, but he should be a very high draft pick whenever he does decide to pursue an NFL career.