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2021 NFL scouting report: North Dakota State QB Trey Lance

A closer look at one of the more versatile QBs in the 2021 NFL Draft.

NCAA Football: FCS Championship Game-North Dakota State vs James Madison Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Trey Lance is yet another highly athletic, strong armed quarterback in a class top heavy with them. Starting as a redshirt freshman at NDSU, Lance has continued to progress his game year after year. His most impressive statistical year was in 2019, where he accumulated 2,786 yards passing, 28 TDs and 0 interceptions on 66.9% passing. I want to zone in on one key stat: 0 Interceptions. That’s unheard of in any division at the collegiate level, and that alone caught my eye as I’ve been taking a look at this QB for quite a while.

There’s certainly a lot to like about his game, alongside some things he will need to clean up to be a successful NFL quarterback. It’s not hard to see why NFL teams will be intrigued.

Here’s my evaluation of Trey Lance and why the Falcons could possibly have him on their radar.

Trey Lance Scouting Reporting

Player Height/Weight: 6’3” – 224 lbs

Games Watched: vs. Delaware.(2019), vs. Youngstown St.(2019), vs. James Madison (2019)

Strengths

  • Good stature and well-built, athletic frame
  • Has a cannon for an arm and shows great accuracy on the deep ball
  • Offers the varied skill set to be successful in multiple schemes and formations
  • Throws with anticipation and great at ball placement, allowing his receivers to make plays after the catch
  • Has a good, quick and compact release
  • Takes calculated risks and looks for the deep play when there
  • Has a good feel for pressure while in the pocket
  • Looks comfortable going through his reads and is willing to check down when needed
  • Keeps his head up consistently when moving in the pocket, looking to throw before using his legs
  • Capable of throwing accurately when on the run
  • Shows big play ability with both his arm and legs
  • Tough to bring down when in the pocket and on the run
  • Looks unfazed under pressure and ready to thrive in big game situations
  • Great instincts when running RPO
  • Shows great maturity on the field when leading his teammates

Weaknesses

  • Shows bouts of inaccuracy at the intermediate levels with a tendency to miss high
  • Needs to learn to protect himself more when running in the open field
  • Will need to learn to be quicker when going through his progressions at the NFL level
  • Needs to improve with consistently using his eyes to manipulate safeties
  • Needs to continue to work on putting more touch on the ball for his receivers at the short and intermediate levels

Trey Lance may be the most versatile QB in the 2021 draft. He’s shown an ability to play in pistol formations, in shotgun and even under the center. Lance is one of the better QB’s that no one is talking about. He has an amazing arm, is a true threat to break a game open with his legs, has great leadership skills and is highly poised in the big pressure moments. There’s a lot to build on.

There’s of course the issue of his experience—Lance has just 18 games under his belt and only got to play one game in 2020—but as the Falcons sit right now with their QB situation, he would have plenty of time to work on his mechanics and gain knowledge under Matt Ryan. That time would likely benefit Lance a great deal.

To maximize his many talents, an offensive coordinator would be better off catering the offense to take advantage of what he does best, and Coach Arthur Smith has shown that he is very good at that. Should the Falcons take him at 4? Well, that may still be a bit of a stretch considering his lack of experience, but I can certainly see the Falcons, or any team for that matter, falling in love enough with him to take him that early. The talent is undeniable.