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2021 Draft Profile: North Dakota State’s Trey Lance

Steeler Nation

Staff member
Leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft starting on April 29th, we will be releasing several draft profiles of prospects who could potentially see themselves on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Next up…

Trey Lance (Quarterback), North Dakota State, Sophomore


We all know about the Steelers’ quarterback situation. With Ben Roethlisberger seemingly being in the final year of his contract, the Steelers need to find their quarterback of the future, and fast. Unfortunately, the 2021 NFL Draft looks to be very thin at the quarterback position. This leaves the Steelers in an awkward position in how to approach the need at future quarterback before the season kicks off in September. Who says they won’t trade up to grab Trey Lance?


Standing at about 6’4”, and weighing roughly 224 pounds, Lance shows to have the stature needed to operate in a pro-style offense. For comparison, here are some current quarterbacks who fell into that similar build at their respective draft times:

Matt Ryan (6’4”, 228 pounds)

Deshaun Watson (6’2”, 221 pounds)

Jalen Hurts (6’1”, 222 pounds)

Ryan Tannehill (6’4”, 221 pounds)

The Steelers like durable, strong-armed quarterbacks who can escape the pocket and look downfield. During his time at North Dakota State University, Lance threw for 2,947 yards while averaging 9.3 yards per pass with 30 touchdowns and a single interception. Looking at Lance’s ability to escape the pocket, he put up 1,325 yards rushing with 18 touchdowns while at NDSU. With the Steelers rebuilding their offensive line amidst the construction of a new offensive system, having a dual threat quarterback would provide a major lift to help new Offensive Coordinator, Matt Canada.


In the abbreviated 2020 COVID-19 NCAA season, programs that were not a part of the Power 5 conferences (being SEC, B1G 10, Big 12, ACC, and Pac-12) were unable to play a significant amount of games. Unfortunately, NDSU fell into this category. Their only game of the 2020 season came in the form of a 39-28 home victory against Central Arkansas. This left a very small sample size for NFL scouts to evaluate Lance in preparation for April’s draft. To make matters a bit murkier, there was no NFL Combine this year. This means the school-hosted Pro Days will give the players and scouts the only opportunity for evaluation. NDSU’s Pro Day is March 12th and all eyes across the NFL will be paying close attention to Lance’s workout in Fargo, North Dakota.

Considering Lance having a minimal 2020 sample size and not playing against strong Power 5 defenses in his entire collegiate career, Lance may have troubles adapting to the NFL as a year one starter.


There is no denying Lance is an attractive option in the 2021 NFL Draft, especially amongst a very thin quarterback draft class. It will be interesting to see where he falls based off an excellent 2019 season, yet barely-existent 2020 season. According to ESPN’s most recent mock draft, Lance is selected as the 9th overall pick by the New England Patriots. This indicates if the Steelers want one of the best young options for a Roethlisberger replacement, they’re going to have to trade up from their 24th spot to get Lance. In typical Kevin Colbert fashion, I would say this is highly unlikely, but then I think back to the 2019 NFL Draft (Steelers acquired the 10th overall pick from the Denver Broncos to secure Devin Bush).

So far 2021 has shown to be as unpredictable as 2020, so who is not to say the Steelers don’t land Lance in April?


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Well-known member
Would be great to get such a talented kid, especially because he doesn't have to start right away, he can learn the game without burning out early like many others before

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Contributor whining about a tag
Good article Ben, thanks

WoW, covid strikes again. It is really going to be hard for some of these players as there just isn't any film available. Fargo ND, could be -40F on march 15 as their weather is like mine..... all four seasons in one day. GOOD luck to Trey and I'll be patient as to the draft order.

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