North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance is one of the more polarizing players in this year's draft class. Loaded with upside and raw talent, NDSU is holding their Pro Day on Friday and their redshirt sophomore quarterback is the main event—which will be televised on NFL Network at 12 p.m. EST.
Several big-name coaches and executives are expected to be in attendance, including Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell. Additionally, per MMQB’s Albert Breer, the New York Jets GM (who hold the No. 2 pick in the draft), Atlanta Falcons GM and coach (pick No. 4), Carolina Panthers GM and coach (pick No. 8), and Washington’s GM (pick no. 19) will also be in Fargo for the event. The Bears (pick No. 20) are also expected to have their GM in attendance, per Dave Birkett of the Free Press.
“When you’re picking in the top 10,” Holmes said last week when discussing the QB class, “I don’t think you can ignore (a position). And it’s smart drafting business anyways, that when you’re picking in the top 10 that you know that quarterback class very thoroughly.”
Lance is the least experienced of the top quarterbacks in this draft class, only starting 17 games in the last two years because NDSU closed their 2020 season after one game due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. While his game film is a smaller sample size, his 2019 performance illustrated his potential, accounting for 42 total touchdowns without throwing an interception.
As a dual-threat quarterback, Lance is more of a modern-day mobile signal-caller than a pocket passer, and because he has found success relying on pure athleticism, his throwing mechanics still need polishing. It’s universally suggested that because Lance needs work on his fundamentals, the ideal situation would be for him to be drafted by a team that has an established quarterback that would allow him to learn and develop for a season or two.
Because Lance isn't presumed to be as NFL-ready as some of the other quarterbacks in this class, he may be available when the Lions are on the clock with pick No. 7 in the draft. With Jared Goff in the fold for at least a year or two, the Lions may offer Lance an ideal situation to maximize his potential.
Holmes and Campbell are surely attending to get a thorough perspective on Lance’s potential so they can give him an accurate draft grade, but with both of them in attendance, it also gives them a solid smokescreen if their plan is to only make teams “believe” they are interested—say to drum up trade offers.
Either way, it’s smart drafting business.