After a tumultuous five-year career with the Philadelphia Eagles, Carson Wentz is now with the Indianapolis Colts after the recent trade. Back in the 2016 NFL Draft, Philadelphia gave up a lot to trade up for Wentz, using the second overall selection on the North Dakota State QB. As we prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft, NDSU has another premier QB prospect in Trey Lance. How do these two players compare as prospects coming into the NFL?
Trey Lance vs. Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz profile
Wentz grew up in North Dakota and enrolled at North Dakota State in 2011. After redshirting his first year and acting as a backup for the next two years, Carson Wentz took over as the NDSU starting QB in 2014.
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As a two-year college starter, Wentz led North Dakota State to back-to-back FCS National Championship victories (the program’s fourth and fifth in a row, by the way!). He threw for 5,115 passing yards with a 64.1% completion percentage and a 45:14 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Wentz also rushed for over 1,000 yards, including 13 rushing touchdowns in college.
Trey Lance profile
As for Trey Lance, he grew up in Minnesota and enrolled at North Dakota State in 2018, appearing in just two games that season. Yet, Lance took over as the NDSU QB the following season and started all 16 games.
Lance amazingly didn’t throw an interception that entire season against his 28 touchdown passes. He completed just under 67% of his passes for 2,786 passing yards. Lance, however, really stood out as a runner with the football.
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That season, Lance racked up 1,243 yards and 16 rushing scores. Like Wentz, Lance also led the Bison to the FCS National Championship in 2019.
There is an obvious wrench in Lance’s situation, however. North Dakota State played just one game in 2020 before canceling their season. That leaves Lance with just 17 college football games as a starting quarterback under his belt.
A comparison of Trey Lance’s and Carson Wentz’s traits
At the NFL Combine, Wentz measured in at 6’ 5 ¼”, 237 pounds, with 33 ¼” arms and 10” hands. He ran his 40-yard dash in 4.77 seconds, did well on the other athletic tests, and reportedly scored a 40 on his Wonderlic exam. These are all exceptional measurables for a quarterback prospect.
Wentz’s traits are outstanding. He has a huge arm and excellent mobility. Although North Dakota State is a small program, Wentz was asked to do a lot in that system; he was considered a strong processor and reader of the field with a good head for the game coming out of school.
Lance is less of a risk-taker than Wentz
Like Wentz, Trey Lance had plenty on his plate at North Dakota State from a mental perspective and really thrived. In fact, he was probably asked to do more than Wentz in this area. However, Lance wasn’t the risk-taker with the football that Wentz was. That could be a product of coaching — or — because Lance was such a great runner that, if the play broke down, Lance could just make something big happen for the Bison as a ball carrier.
Either way, Lance valued the football more and rarely turned it over in any capacity. It will be baptism by fire — he will have to be more of a risk-taker in the NFL and attempt more tight-window throws.
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Trey Lance is quite capable of succeeding in this area, but his accuracy isn’t ideal. He has an extremely strong arm and a powerfully-built body. We don’t yet know his athletic measurables, but he should certainly test better than Wentz — which is saying something.
Lance is a dominant runner with power, speed, and elusiveness, but also is an accomplished deep-ball passer. Additionally, Lance will be the first NFL player to have been born in the 2000s.
It should be noted that Lance had less than 19 pass attempts per game on average in North Dakota State’s run-heavy offense.
Trey Lance is a first-round prospect, but where could he land?
There are some similarities between these two former NDSU QBs. Both are tough with great on-the-field leadership traits and outstanding work ethic. Both have mental preparation and are very physically gifted. Most importantly, they have the tools and traits that today’s NFL is really looking for.
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However, without this year’s NFL Combine and just one game played in 2020, Trey Lance obviously still has a lot of work to do at his pro day. Also, in his interviews, Lance must prove to NFL decision-makers that he can be their franchise quarterback.
There has never been a draft prospect put in a situation like the one Lance is going through right now. But in the end, expect him to come out as a premier player at the next level.
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