With NFL-ready size, speed, athleticism and a tremendous arm, Trey Lance has pretty much everything you want in an elite quarterback prospect. Ahead of this month’s draft, the North Dakota State standout is ranked by most as somewhere in the No. 3-No. 5 QB range — almost certainly going off the board early in the first round.
With this kind of hype heading into his professional career, Lance is bound to catch some interesting NFL comparisons.
Joining NFL Network’s “Path to the Draft” special, ESPN college football analyst Desmond Howard likened Lance’s specs and game to that of former Eagles star quarterback Donovan McNabb.
“When you look at Trey Lance, huge upside,” Howard said, per 247Sports. “Tremendously athletic, kind of reminds me of Donovan McNabb. The way he breaks containment, but he’s a big quarterback so guys have to make a business decision when coming in to make the tackle, (he) can make all the throws. What I really love about him is that he was told he couldn’t play quarterback at the next level. What did he do? As opposed to going to a new position, he stuck to his guns and he has an opportunity to be drafted in the first round in 2021.
“I spoke to his coaches and they said having Trey Lance around in the locker room, on the field and in the media room is like having another coach around because he’s just that studious, he’s a student of the game. I love what he brings as a quarterback.”
With the kind of NFL career he had, McNabb should be a welcome comparison for the young QB. Through 13 years in the league, the 6-foot-2, 240 lbs signal caller (Lance: 6-foot-4, 226 lbs) earned six Pro-Bowl appearances as an elite dual-threat option. With similar size, athleticism and throwing ability, Lance certainly shows flashes of the Philly QB.
That being said, Lance is the riskiest pick from this year’s pool of elite quarterback prospects. Not for a lack of talent, but for a lack of time played on the big stage.
After lighting up the FCS in 2019, Lance’s North Dakota State team played just one game in 2020 before the league moved their season to the spring. As a result, the 20-year-old QB only through 288 pass attempts in his pre-draft collegiate career.
But, he made the most of what time he had. With those 288 pass attempts, Lance amassed 2,798 yards and a flawless 28-0 touchdown-to-interception record. Proficient with his legs as well, the athletic weapon added 1,182 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground.
Lance will get a chance to hear his name called next week when the 2021 NFL Draft kicks off on April 29.