By: Bill Washinski
With growing speculation that Ben Roethlisberger will return for another run for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021, many early mock drafts have them moving up to the 10th pick for North Dakota State Bison QB Trey Lance.
Lance, a redshirt freshman in 2019, was outstanding in his first season with 28 TDs and 0 INTs en route to winning the 2020 NCAA Division I Football Championship and MVP.
Depending on the “expert” he’s considered as high as the 3rd best QB prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft and has all the measurables (6’4″, 226 lb).
The Steelers are going to need to plan for life after Ben Roethlisberger and the strong armed mobile QB seems to check a lot of the boxes, there are aspects to consider:
- He’s played only 1 full season of college football in 2019, as the Bison 2020 fall season was cancelled due to the pandemic. Lance was limited to playing only 1 non-conference game.
- He played Division I Football, so his limited playing time was not against Division I FBS level opponents and a lot of his completions on big plays were to wide open WRs.
- He is definitely mobile, but is he NFL-level accurate? In the long run, being able to run as a QB is irrelevant, accuracy is everything.
- Off the grid stats in college do not necessarily translate to the NFL: see Dwayne Haskins.
- Lance is very young (only 20 years old) and thus maturity has to be considered. While not a direct comparison, when Tommy Maddox entered the draft at the same age to be the heir apparent to John Elway, things didn’t work out for Maddox well. Maddox never recovered from being in the middle of the Dan Reeves vs. Elway power struggle, how possible is it that Lance gets caught up in a similar situation?
- If Roethlisberger is indeed coming back, it stands to reason some other veterans will make a final go, do you not go all-in with them and address the weaknesses of the OL and RB first?
- Would Roethlisberger treat this high #1 pick like Brett Favre treated Aaron Rodgers or Joe Montana treated Steve Young?
This may all be a moot point and there are a lot of pieces that have to fall first before making a decision, plus you have to consider what you give up to move as many as 14 spots in the draft.
Do you think the Steelers should find their QB of the future if they can this year? Do you think Trey Lance is capable of being “the man”? Leave a comment below.