Denver Broncos NFL Draft: 1st-rounders George Paton saw at pro days

Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft: Justin Fields. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft: Justin Fields. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Trey Lance, Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft prospect Trey Lance. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images) /

2. Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Unless he goes third overall to the San Francisco 49ers (who are rumored to be most interested in Alabama’s Mac Jones), there seems to be a decent chance that Trey Lance could be on the board for the Denver Broncos with the ninth overall pick.

Barring a trade up from another team like the New England Patriots, Washington Football Team, or Chicago Bears, the only teams in front of the Denver Broncos at this point that might be considering quarterback along with other positions would be the Atlanta Falcons (4) and Detroit Lions (7) and neither are considered guarantees to take QBs.

Trey Lance is a fascinating prospect.

In his lone full season as the starter for North Dakota State, he put together one of the most impressive seasons as an individual player that we have seen at any level of college football. He had 28 passing touchdowns and 14 rushing touchdowns in 16 games with zero interceptions.

Although he threw an interception in NDSU’s 2020 “showcase” game, Lance has proven he’s a playmaker out there, even though he’s as raw as they come when it comes to pure on-field experience.

Known for his tremendous work ethic, Lance is the type of ball of clay that could make some NFL team look like geniuses down the line. He can contribute immediately as a runner, but what is his potential fit with the Denver Broncos?

Very few quarterbacks with 17 or fewer college starts — much less zero against FBS competition — make it in the NFL. Lance would be the first guy to do it with literally no games against FBS programs and only 17 starts in general.

Even banking on his tremendous talent, Lance rode a dominant run-first attack with NDSU to his great 2019 campaign, averaging 18.6 pass attempts per game in his starts while the team averaged 45 rushing attempts in his starts. Furthermore, in six of Lance’s 17 starts at NDSU, he had a completion percentage of 56.5 or worse. That’s not to say he’s an inaccurate passer, but it’s worth noting.

Projecting him into an offense where spreading the ball around to a plethora of receivers is a bit of a stretch, but it’s not impossible.

Still, if Paton feels he can be a game-changer, he’s got to take him.