Chicago Bears: What scouts saw from Trey Lance

The Chicago Bears scouted Trey Lance on Saturday.

With the Mitchell Trubisky era all but over, the Chicago Bears must turn their attention to drafting who they hoped Mitch would be — a franchise quarterback. That endeavor appeared to begin in earnest (if it hadn’t already) on Saturday as the team sent at least one scout to check out Trey Lance of North Dakota State.

If you are unfamiliar with Lance, you should get familiar, as he is already a hot name among draft-eligible quarterbacks for 2021. He is someone we previously spotlighted back in April and has been on our radar for quite some time, especially after an impressive 2019 campaign.

Lance is such an intriguing prospect for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, is his skillset. He has such outstanding traits, including a terrific arm, plus athleticism, composure in the pocket, the ability to throw off-platform, and being a true dual-threat quarterback (rushed for 1,110 yards and 14 touchdowns last season). Last season he put up some terrific numbers, including 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns and, 0 interceptions. He has such a high ceiling, but the question will be, ‘can he maximize it?’

Prior to last season, he attempted only one pass and only attempted 287 last year. Needless to say, a lot was riding on his 2020 season until COVID-19 took it away. All that was left was Saturday’s singular game — a showcase of sorts — against Central Arkansas.

The results were very mixed and not what Lance was hoping to put on tape in what will likely be his final game before the draft. On the day he completed just 50 percent of his passes for 149 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception while rushing for two more touchdowns. He started out extremely slow, but turned in a very nice fourth quarter, going 4-5 for 56 yards and a touchdown.

It’s tough to evaluate his day. His detractors will continue to be skeptical of whether his game can translate to the NFL. They’ll question both his lack of experience and the level of competition. His supporter, of which I am still one, will be encouraged by his final quarter, which could suggest he needed to knock off some rust. It certainly couldn’t have been easy to step into a game with so much on the line without a full offseason.

Regardless of which side of the debate you are on, you likely agree that Lance is unlikely to start in 2021 for whichever team selects him in April. He will need time to sit and develop, a luxury few teams have the patience for in today’s NFL. However, for a team who is willing and able to do so, and is confident in their ability to scout and project his skillset, Lance offers unlimited upside. The question remains, ‘could that team be the Bears?’