2021 NFL Draft: What Trey Lance's terrific pro day means for the Eagles

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Reuben Frank
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What Trey Lance's terrific pro day means for the Eagles originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Eagles coaches Shane Steichen and Brian Johnson watched Trey Lance put on a show Friday morning at his pro day workout.

Exactly what it means for the future we won’t know until April, but the North Dakota State quarterback certainly solidified his stature as a top-10 pick with his performance at the Fargodome.

Working out on live national TV and in front of coaches or scouts from 30 of the 32 NFL teams at the Fargodome on the NDSU campus, Lance threw 66 passes to five receivers running a variety of short, medium and deep routes.

There were a few overthrows and one underthrow, but almost all his passes were on the money, delivered with velocity, accuracy and anticipation.

“He’s dripping with ability,” NFL Network analyst and former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah marveled at one point. “This guy can make some special, special throws.”

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Jeremiah said he was most impressed by Lance’s improved mechanics since he was last seen playing football, in a game against Central Arkansas in October. 

“When you watched him today I thought the focus on the footwork, cleaning that up a little bit, shortening that stride, was big, and I also thought he really tightened his release up from what we saw in the fall,” Jeremiah said during NFL Network’s live broadcast from Fargo.

“When you add the footwork being right and you add tightening up that delivery and then you see the ball just jump out of his hands, I wrote down when I was watching, ‘Horsepower.’ He can create some RPMs on the football.”

Because there’s no combine this year and Lance only played one game this season, his pro day took on added significance as NFL coaches and scouts try to figure out what they have in the 20-year-old Lance, who only made 17 college starts.

What does all this mean for the Eagles? 

It’s possible Steichen, Nick Sirianni’s offensive coordinator, and Johnson, the Eagles’ new quarterbacks coach, were only in Fargo doing their due diligence, and the Eagles - as recently reported by ESPN - are not considering drafting a quarterback at No. 6. After all, 30 of the 32 teams were represented in Fargo Friday and most of them have no chance at drafting Lance.

But there’s also the reality that if a quarterback is there at No. 6 that the Eagles organizationally truly believe is dramatically better than Jalen Hurts, they could select him. And teams have certainly been known to put out false information before the draft to keep other teams guessing.

It's still most likely the Eagles will select a weapon for Hurts at No. 6, but this is a front office that's been known to quickly grow enamored of quarterbacks as well. 

Also, as someone like Lance improves his draft stock and more QB-starved teams want to move up into the top half dozen picks, the Eagles’ spot at No. 6 becomes more valuable for a possible trade down, which could make a lot of sense for the Eagles.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Lance led the Bison to a perfect 16-0 record and FCS national championship in the fall of 2019, his only season as a starter. He completed 67 percent of his passes with 28 touchdowns and no interceptions and ran for 1,110 yards.  

This past fall, NDSU played just the one game and Lance completed 15 of 30 passes for 149 yards with two TDs and his first career INT in a win over Central Arkansas. NDSU is playing a spring schedule that Lance is not a part of as he prepares for the draft.

Lance, who’s only 20, seemed nonplussed by the circus atmosphere and the high stakes of his only pre-draft workout.

“I took it the same way I go into a game,” he said. “I do everything I possibly can to prepare as best as I possibly can so I don’t really have anything to worry about. At that point, it’s just attitude and effort, which are two things you can control. 

“I was looking forward to it. Six months is a long time without throwing in the Fargodome. So there wasn’t a whole lot of nerves for me. Just excited to go out and show what I’ve got.”

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