In the 2019 season, Trey Lance threw for 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions while making some spectacular plays, which made him soar up draft boards for the 2021 draft. There are plays where Lance is lost, and the inexperienced and long release get to him. However, other plays make your jaw drop, where he makes an off-balanced throw, rolling to his left (throwing across his body). The most critical factor in all his evaluation to understanding is that Lance played very well at the age of 19. To add to the difficult evaluation, Lance only had one year as a full-time starter (and one game in 2020). He also played in a level of competition that was lower. The tools and intelligence of Lance are enticing, and he is comparable to Josh Allen. That is thanks to the development Lance will have to undergo before reaching his potential.
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Name: Trey Lance
School: North Dakota State
Weight: 221 lbs
There are some placement and accuracy issues where Lance will miss some throws. This is maybe the biggest hurdle Lance will have to overcome. While his decision-making is oftentimes great, he makes bad throws.
Arm Strength (9.5/10)
Lance has a cannon which allows him to make all throws all over the field. He also has incredible velocity on short and intimate throws, which allows him to be more aggressive on tight windows. His arm strength is on display when Lance is rolling out and off-platform throws.
Surprisingly decisive with his reads. Once he sees a breakdown in the defense or has a schemed-open throw – Lance will pull the trigger. He’s also has a risk-averse aspect in his game style, and while he doesn’t get billed as a ‘game manager’, he consistently makes great decisions. He still makes mistakes and will throw interceptions, but this is easily one of his best traits.
Progressions & Anticipation (6/10)
While he’s good at making decisions, there are misreads. There is the stat of 28 touchdowns to zero interceptions, but this is a false narrative as several cornerbacks dropped throws right to them. The progressions for Lance are assisted by the scheme. He had plenty of open throws, or the throw would go to the defender, who would drop the ball. Overall, the progressions and anticipation need to get better and should with age and experience.
Lance does not want to go down and is willing to make a play. I worry about him taking too many hits and not sliding down enough, but he’s got strength for being 6’3 and 221 lb. Lance has vision and contact balance, but overall he doesn’t have breakaway speed.
When the Bisons needed a play, Lance was willing to make it and would show his talent with a needed rush or a clutch throw. Lance was always willing to take a hit to deliver the ball.
Play Outside of Structure (8.5/10)
Lance was excellent at extending plays and had a knack for setting up rushes. Some of his best plays came outside the pocket, where he would throw a dime outside the pocket. His ability to throw on the run will be coveted by NFL teams.
Pocket Awareness (8/10)
Situationally aware in the pocket, which allows him to move up or around the pocket. He sets up open lanes for rushing well, and when he moves around the pocket, he can reset his feet.
The worst aspect of Lance’s mechanics is the long release, and it will allow defenders to make plays on the ball. The actual throwing motion needs to get quicker, but it does allow him velocity on the ball. No concerns with footwork, but while the release is concerning, the right coach and hard work will fix it.
Competitive Toughness (5/5)
Lance takes hits to deliver the ball. Lance is not going to slide to gain additional yardage.
Had surgery on a lower leg at the end of the 2019 season. No concerns with injuries.
Lance has the widest range of outcomes and is thus labeled ‘boom-bust’ largely due to mental errors, accuracy issues, and level of competition. With that said, I was pleasantly surprised with how well he took advantage of his offensive system and the special plays he made. He’s an intelligent and decisive player who has the potential to be a high-end starter if he cleans up his progression and accuracy issues. Overall, his spectacular playability, arm strength, and mobility should entice every NFL Team.
Final Grade (81/100): Second Round Grade
Player Comp: Josh Allen