31 Jul Preseason Scouting Notes: Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
Redshirt Sophomore | 6’3” 221 lbs | Marshall, MN
A dual-threat QB with high-end arm strength, pocket presence, and decision-making skills whose clutch factor is relatively unknown
Trey Lance is a former 3-star recruit who redshirted his first season on campus before breaking out as the Walter Payton Award winner, the FCS equivalent to the Heisman. He is the first freshman to ever win the award. Lance captained a 16-0 national championship winning squad and was at the helm of a pro-style offense that used a lot of heavy personnel and was RPO-heavy out of shotgun. He was absurdly efficient from a TD:INT ratio stand point, accounting for 42 scores on the year (28 passing, 14 rushing) while throwing 0 interceptions. Lance enters his third season on campus with first-round buzz and a chance to be the third Bison QB drafted in a 6-year span.
– Gets the ball out quickly with a whippy throwing motion
– Has the requisite arm strength to throw to all fields with solid velocity
– Great deep ball accuracy/placement. Has shown the ability to put ideal touch on the ball and deliver it to receivers in stride
– Good short accuracy. Adept at varying the velocity, touch, and placement of his short passes depending on the situation/coverage
– Accuracy does not wane while outside the pocket on the run
– Dangerous threat as a runner. Needs to be accounted for on read options plays of with a spy on passes due to his speed and ability to step through or bounce of tackles with good contact balance
– Clean, polished footwork on drop backs
– Great pocket presence and feel for pressure. Isn’t phased by oncoming blitzers and can break away from would-be sacks
– Safe decision-maker who takes calculated risks. Only turned the ball over once last year
– Ideal body composition/study frame for the position
Areas to improve:
– Has a tendency to lock onto his first read at times. Needs to improve his field vision and work to his second and third reads more frequently before becoming an NFL starter
– Not very anticipatory as a thrower. Doesn’t anticipate when his receivers will break open and rarely throws them open
– Too eager to take off and run when his first read isn’t available
– Needs to be more willing to slide as a runner. Will give NFL coaches heart attacks with all the shots he takes
– Must learn that it’s okay to sometimes throw the ball away rather than take hits or try to scramble
– Mechanics tend to falter a bit as the game goes on, particularly in games when he’s asked to run frequently. Possibly due to a loss of stamina
– Rarely manipulates defenders with his eyes
– Dealt with a “lower body injury” in the spring of 2020. Seen on crutches after procedure on a former HS injury
Lance projects to be a win with quarterback at the NFL early on due to his proficient arm strength, accuracy and dangerous running ability. He’ll be valued by many teams for his ability to function in a pro-style and simultaneously become a dangerous running threat out of shotgun and pistol formations. Lance will need to go to a team that accentuates his ability as a runner in order to reach his Pro Bowl ceiling. And he’d greatly benefit from sitting for a year behind a bridge quarterback while he works on his ability to manipulate defenders and progress through his reads. Expect him to be taken sometime in the mid-first round.
What to watch in 2020:
While Lance has already proven himself as an intriguing NFL prospect, there’s still a lot of unknown areas of his all-important clutch factor. His ability to lead his team in clutch situations is relatively a mystery. The Bison dominated opponents all year, even in the playoffs, and Lance didn’t have much opportunity to show how he plays from behind or in critical situations. In the national championship against JMU, Lance was rendered ineffective as a passer, which leaves some questions about his ability to lead a team with his arm in high stakes situations.
- XTB’s Director of Scouting
- Bay Area-born sports lover who has worked in the football industry as a journalist, coach, film analyst, and scout.
- Currently a graduate student attending the UMass Sport Management program, and received his BA in journalism at Hofstra University.