In a recent PFF podcast, Austin Gayle, Mike Renner, and NFL Network insider Daniel Jeremiah discussed the draft-eligible quarterbacks of 2021. And in so doing, Jeremiah gushed over North Dakota State standout Trey Lance in a way I did not expect.
Listen to a snippet of the conversation right here:
Safe to say @MoveTheSticks is a BIG fan of NDSU's Trey Lance.
DJ, @PFF_Mike and I discuss the 2021 QB class, recent opt-outs and more on the latest episode of 2 for 1 Drafts.
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) August 5, 2020
“I entered the process thinking it’s going to be Trevor Lawrence all by himself. A gap. Then Justin Fields. And then the scrappy upstart from North Dakota State comes in third,” Jeremiah said. “And then when I watched all three of them, I was like man, if I don’t helmet scout and just evaluate the way they played, I had Trey Lance as the best one.”
Jeremiah also said: “He can make every play, with his arm and with his legs. He’s the best decision-maker by far, and that’s referenced and you can see the lack of turnovers. He’s selectively aggressive, so when there’s time to take shots he’s not going to be Checkdown Charlie. He’ll push the ball vertically down the field. And so I look at poise, decision-making, accuracy, play-making ability, toughness — he’s literally off the charts in all five of those key areas. To me, he was the most impressive of the bunch.”
With a profile like that, how can Lance not be the pick as QB1 in his class?
Lance was a standout performer for the FCS champion North Dakota State Bison as a redshirt sophomore. He threw for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns last season. But perhaps most importantly, Lance did not throw any interceptions. Seeing “0” in the INT column is tantalizing, even if it is against FCS opponents. And for good measure, Lance added 1,100 rushing yards (169 attempts) and 14 touchdowns. That’s 42 total touchdowns and just one turnover (Lance lost one of the four fumbles in 2018).
To be clear, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence will likely be the first QB off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft. In fact, the odds are overwhelmingly high right now that Lawrence goes with the first overall pick. But that we’re having a discussion about Lance (and even Justin Fields) being in the conversation makes my ears perk up. It’s impossible to look away from next year’s quarterback class when you’re a Bears fan. And with playmakers like Lance, Lawrence, and Fields, it’s easy to dream on one of those guys lining up in Chicago in 2021. More than that, it’s kinda fun.
And to think, the conversation is just getting started.
Lance won’t be referred to as the “scrappy upstart from North Dakota State” for much longer if praise like this keeps coming from respected draftniks like Jeremiah.