Trey Lance: Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft target and how he fits

Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft prospect Trey Lance. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft prospect Trey Lance. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Pat Shurmur, Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft, Pat Shurmur. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

Along with all of that, another way a fan can look and see if they’re watching an intelligent football player, and a student of the game is if the ball carrier switches the ball to their outside arm when breaking away as a ball carrier.

The reason for this is, not only does it free up your inside arm to stiff-arm a defender, but it also keeps the ball further away from the defender as well as using the sideline as your friend in a worst-case scenario, a fumble occurs.

As a runner, this is something that Lance could work on. While he was not the absolute worst in this aspect, I believe it is something he could improve on if he continues to use his legs as a weapon. Lance is not a running back, he is a quarterback. Therefore, this isn’t something I would fault him on necessarily, but if you pay close attention to an elite running back next time you watch them break away, you can see the subtle switch I’m speaking of.

Referring back to his full-season as a starter, he amassed 1,100 yards on the ground while crossing the pylon 14 times. Instilling this little detail in his repertoire could make him an even better runner. As an athlete, Lance has a phenomenal build and is tremendously gifted, this improvement in his rushing attack would only emphasize strength and athletic style of play.

Switching back over to his ability to manipulate the field, and control the play, I’d like to look at a certain play in 2019 against South Dakota. He rolled out to his right, and his receiver was running a post route to clear out the safety, Lance controlled the safety with his eyes long enough to find the tight end leaking out behind the play, streaking the seam on a wheel route. Lance would then drop the ball in the tight end’s hands for an eventual touchdown.

I would imagine that this play alone has to have coaches like San Fransisco 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and Denver Broncos Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur drooling (this particular play begins at the 1:50 mark in this video).

Current Broncos tight end Noah Fant would be unstoppable in this sort of play design with this type of execution. Drew Lock and Fant pulled off a similar play like this against the Kansas City Chiefs during the snow game in 2019, albeit the current OC at the time was Rich Scangarello, who coincidentally enough is the 49ers quarterback coach again.

For a quarterback who has played in a mere 17 games, he has shown he possesses the ability to control the play, and dictate the defense into doing what he wants.

With the rise of the spread offense, Lance has shown that he is able to operate under center just as well as he can from the gun. Lance is part of the minority in that he is still very willing and able to play fake, turn his back to the defense, pop up, climb the pocket and find the open target. In a scheme run by Pat Shurmur, it is my personal opinion that Lance would thrive. While we did not see the Broncos go as heavy on play-action as many had expected last year, I fully expect Shurmur to get back to his bread and butter in 2021.

Another important play in the video above is at the 2:25 mark. This play shows both a positive and a negative trait of Lance. In the gun, he takes the snap, goes through his progressions, and sees nothing he likes.

The positive takeaway is this is an example of how well he climbs the pocket. He isn’t afraid to step up into the teeth of the defense and make a tough throw or take off and go. What I did not like in this example, is how you see he is still carrying the ball on his inside arm. This play is a great example of what I touched on earlier, and if Lance switched the ball to his outside arm there, he easily could have turned what was a 20 yard gain into a potential 90-yard touchdown run as he could have severed the connection between him and the defender.

There is a lot to love about Trey Lance and his potential, but the word “potential” is also unknown. That should definitely carry some cause for concern, but what are his biggest flaws, and are they enough to steer the Denver Broncos away from selecting him in the top 10?