Rookie Rundown: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State

Rookie Rundown: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State

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Rookie Rundown: QB Trey Lance, North Dakota State

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Trey Lance is an expensive lottery ticket. He carries less experience and track record into the NFL draft than any of the other top quarterbacks and yet could be just as good. He only started one spectacular season at North Dakota State and then missed 2020 when the Bison shelved the program due to COVID concerns. Lance was able to declare for the draft as the rare Red Shirt Sophomore.

The high school standout was considered as the top quarterback in Minnesota when he considered signing with the University of Minnesota but they wanted him to play defensive back or wide receiver. He committed to North Dakota State to remain a quarterback.

Lance took over as the starter in his redshirt freshman season of 2019 and led the Bison to a Division 1 championship. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of that championship game and set an NCAA record when he threw 287 passes without any interceptions. He also won the Walter Payton Award and Jerry Rice Award. His sophomore season was much anticipated but the Bison cancelled their season.

His one season as a starter resulted in 2,768 passing yards with 28 touchdowns, no interceptions and a 67% completion rate. He ran for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns as a dangerous dual threat.

Height: 6-3
Weight: 224 pounds
40 time: 4.45 seconds

North Dakota State had their Pro Day on March 12 and Lance thoroughly impressed. He threw 66 passes to five different receivers that showcased his special talent. Some of the NFL teams in attendance included the Jets, Lions, Panthers, Patriots, Bears, Raiders, Seahawks, Broncos, Vikings and Washington. He did nothing to change his lofty potential that is expected to result in him being taken in among the first four quarterbacks selected.

Trey Lance, North Dakota State stats (2018-19)

Year Games Runs Yards TD Pass Complete Yards Avg. TD Int QBR
2018 2 8 82 2 1 1 12 12.0 0 0 200.8
2019 16 169 1100 14 287 192 2786 11.7 28 0 180.6
2020 1 15 143 2 30 15 149 5.0 2 1 na

Pros

  • Elite athlete with a big frame and explosive speed
  • One of the strongest arms among the rookie quarterbacks
  • Very careful with the ball, doesn’t produce turnovers
  • Very high character on and off the field
  • Accurate passes in tight windows
  • Highly mobile in the pocket and buys time
  • Downhill runner that is equally as dangerous rushing as passing
  • Tremendous upside after just one stellar season
  • High football IQ – set his own protections in a Pro-style offense
  • Poised and calm in the pocket even when rushed
  • Strong frame makes him tough to tackle
  • Hard worker and team leader that is easy to coach

Cons

  • Just one season as a college starter – still very raw
  • Questionable decision-making at times.
  • Quick to run when first read is covered
  • Unusually high number of batted balls

Fantasy outlook

This draft class has four quarterbacks considered as Day One locks and Lance is most often considered to be the No. 4. That could still be Top-10 and maybe even Top-5. With just one season of college play, he’s the least experienced of the group and least likely to just step into a Week 1 starting role.

Ideally, he’ll be taken by a team that is able to let him season on the bench for the first season and then take over. That opens up a lot of possibilities for which teams are likely to take him. Whenever he does start, he will produce fantasy points if only because of his rushing ability. He is likened to Josh Allen and is a better rusher. He may end up as a Year One starter and would merit drafting as a fantasy backup because of his rushing stats alone.

Teams rumored to be most the likely landing spots include the 49ers, Lions, Bears, Patriots, Vikings, and Washington. Each of those franchises can start another veteran for 2021 and then turn to Lance in 2022.

His landing spot will immediately set his fantasy expectations for this season from the quarterback situation that he steps into. He’s a bit of a lottery ticket with just one college season to his credit, but the payoff could be immense and worthy of the first-round pick.

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