2021 NFL Draft: Trey Lance and What I’d Like to See
Let me start off by stating that I’m a fan of Trey Lance.
However, you can be a fan of someone and still want to see more.
What I want to see more of I’m not sure if it will happen at North Dakota State because of the offensive system that is in place. Last season, North Dakota State as a team ran the ball 719 times and threw the ball on 304 occasions with Lance logging 287 of the 304. For perspective, Lance ran the ball 169 times.
Those numbers don’t mean Lance is good or bad they simply mean he plays in a run-heavy system at North Dakota State and until they stop winning National Championships that’s not going to change. Those numbers mean that on average Lance threw 17.9 times per game in 2019 and averaged about 10.5 carries per game in the same season.
But that’s where it gets confusing for me. He set a record for most pass attempts without an INT, put up the best passing efficiency numbers in FCS and his completion percentage was just shy of 67%.
So what am I getting at?
I want Trey Lance to throw more. I want NDSU to put the game in his hands, and give him 22-25 attempts per game. The running numbers I don’t need to see. He is a serious threat on the ground. Lance is a put-together dude with an athletic frame and meets the desired size for a QB at the NFL level. He doesn’t need to prove anything else athletically. I want to see more from that cannon with laserlike precision. He’s given us such a mouthwatering appetizer that I want to see more.
Why do I need to see him throw more?
Now this answer is a catch 22. It’s a double-edged sword. How are you going to throw the ball when you’re up 31-0? Do you abandon the program’s offensive philosophy to showcase the true talents of Lance to the NFL? There is no correct answer.
Which is why I present a scenario other than Lance entering the 2021 NFL Draft.
Hypothetically, what if Lance is on pace to graduate in 3 years and opts to grad transfer?
When I mentioned this on Twitter it wasn’t well received. However, in a year where Georgia (Jamie Newman), Clemson (Trevor Lawrence) and Ohio State (Justin Fields) all have highly regarded NFL QB prospects what if Lance spent a season at one of those 3 colleges? What if Lance decided to “step-up” in competition and enroll with a Power 5 team? What if Trey Lance doesn’t enter the 2021 NFL Draft?
When I brought up Ohio State someone said but Easton Stick was kept on roster and Cardale Jones got cut. Yes, they are correct. But, Cardale Jones played for Urban Meyer and Justin Fields plays for Ryan Day and those are different offensive systems. Over the next few years, I expect to see an increase in Ohio State QBs and how they are viewed in the eyes of NFL evaluators. Gone are the days of Craig Krenzel, Joe Germaine, JT Barrett and Braxton Miller. For the 2019 season Fields logged 137 rushing attempts and 354 passing attempts. While it’s not much of a difference those 60-70 additional throws can show so much.
Now, I’m not advocating for Lance to transfer. He still has the upcoming college season and the Bison will knuckle up with the Oregon Ducks early in September. Some people will look at the Oregon game and use the whole level of competition metric to either discredit or validate Lance based on this one game. I’m not one of those people.
All I’m asking is if Jabril Cox can leave NDSU for LSU is it crazy to consider this scenario?
Some will argue that Cox and his draft stock have never been mentioned as high as Lance’s has been mentioned in the early parts of Round 1. That is true, but Cox was viewed, from what I’ve seen and heard, as a Round 3 pick. That’s Round 3 before even stepping on the field for the upcoming season.
Again, I like Trey Lance but I think we’re all getting a little ahead of ourselves with the crazy high expectations. I’m not arguing against him as a Top 50 prospect. I just think there is more to see from him before he is clear cut as QB2 in the 2021 NFL Draft.