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Last Tuesday, North Dakota State Quarterback Trey Lance declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. But did he make the right decision? I was saying for months, Lance was going to come back, and enter the 2022 Draft. I might have been the only person on the planet, that had Lance returning. I stand corrected. You gotta love the Draft process. Lance had 3 options.
- Return to North Dakota State for the 2021 Spring Season, and then prepare for the 2022 Draft. He also might have been able to play in the Spring, and still declare for the 2021 Draft.
- Transfer to a Power 5 School, and then declare for the 2021 Draft.
- Opt-out of the Spring Season, and declare for the 2021 Draft.
If I was Lance, I would have transferred to a Power 5 School, to prove that I wasn’t just successful, because of the level of competition.
Lance wasn’t sought after much on the recruiting trail. He was listed as just a 3 star recruit, and was ranked the 49th ranked Dual-Threat Quarterback, per 247Sports. Pretty good for a 3 star recruit eh? He redshirted as a true Freshman in 2018, sitting behind Easton Stick. Last season, he started all 16 games, and led the Bisons to a victory in the FCS Championship Game against James Madison, where he was named the game’s MVP. It was the first 16-0 finish in College Football since 1894. Lance threw for 2,786 yards, 28 Touchdowns, and no Interceptions. He added 1,100 yards on the ground, while scoring 14 Touchdowns. His 180.6 passing efficiency, and his 3,886 total yards, are both NDSU single-season records. He won the Walter Payton Award (given to the most outstanding player in the FCS), and the Jerry Rice Award (given to the most outstanding Freshman in the FCS). He set an NCAA record for most passes thrown in a season without throwing an Interception (287). When I watch Lance, he reminds me of Cam Newton, and Donovan McNabb. It was truly remarkable what Lance accomplished last season, in his first (and only season) as a starter.
On August 24th, it was announced, Lance would get a home showcase game against Central Arkansas on October 3rd. It was really a unique idea, if you ask me. I can see the NCAA doing this more in the near future. Lance played in front of 26 NFL Scouts, from 20 teams. He went 15/30 for 149 yards, 2 Touchdowns, and threw his first and only Interception, after 307 consecutive attempts without a pick. He rushed for 143 yards on 15 carries, and scored 2 Touchdowns. Overall, I think it was a fine performance. With 17 starts under his belt, he feels, he’s ready for the NFL. Personally, I think he should have came back. Whether it’s back to North Dakota State, or to a Power 5 School, another year in College would have improved his game, especially if he went to a Power 5 School. Another year of seasoning, would have been beneficial. Carson Wentz has made the smooth transition from North Dakota State to the NFL, however he was a 2 year starter, as opposed to Lance, who’s only started a year and a game. But, there’s always the question “What if he comes back and gets hurt”? Let’s say he tears his ACL, 6 games into the season, it will most likely affect his Draft stock. Maybe he goes later in the 2022 Draft, as opposed to next year’s Draft. What if. He should be the third Quarterback off the board on April 29th, behind Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. A team may like Lance over Fields, but when it’s all set and done, I think he will be the third Quarterback off the board. He might need a year or two to get acclimated to the NFL, but the payoff long term could be huge.