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.
After the announcement was made on Friday that North Dakota State (and the entire Missouri Valley Conference) was pushing football to the spring due to COVID-19, our staff looked at their top prospect, quarterback Trey Lance, and evaluated what his next course of action should be.
Sit out and declare
The overwhelming response from all of our analysts was that the best course of action for Lance was to sit out this season and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Of course, we admittedly don’t know personal factors or other things that may affect his decision, but from a pure value standpoint, our scouting staff was adamant that sitting out is the best decision.
“I think the no-brainer decision is to sit out,” Reid stated. “You can’t hurt yourself (by not playing), and Lance is pretty much on top of the world right now. 16-0 (record), 42 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions in his only year starting. You can’t really lose anything by sitting out, even when the biggest thing you have working against you is your one-year sample size. We’ve seen quarterbacks pushed up the board every year and plenty of them have that one-year sample size and still get drafted in the top 10, or even the top five.”
Harris agreed with this sentiment, suggesting that Lance should take advantage of his current stock and declare.
“I think you almost have to leave because Lance’s stock (just) can’t get any higher than it is right now,” Harris stated. “He’s already a top-end guy, so realistically, where can he go? By playing you risk injury and plenty of other unknowns. I don’t think (the number of passes he’s thrown) really matters because we’ve seen others with just as little of a sample size still have (NFL) success. You’ve got to strike while the iron’s hot. This is essentially a once-in-a-lifetime deal. With his stock being as high as it currently is, there’s not much to gain and there’s plenty to lose."
Marino followed up with his own interpretation of what a sit out would entail, suggesting that Lance is simply too talented to suffer from a small sample size.
“I mean, if you go back to that concept of team’s drafting players for what they will become and what they can get out of them, I think with Trey, the whole playbook’s open,” Marino stated. “There’s not a thing this guy can’t do. Sitting out doesn’t change that.”
Crabbs finished the discussion by pondering what Lance could truly do to elevate his stock from where it currently is.
“He’s generally perceived as QB3 and he’s usually thought of as an (easy) first-round selection, so how much higher can he get?” Crabbs rhetorically asked. “Are you going to play and hope you pass (Justin) Fields and Trevor (Lawrence) to go first overall instead of like eighth? The risk (of transferring or playing) outweighs the reward.”
If Lance does decide to transfer, here are some of the top options for him.