On March 12, 2020, Justin Herbert foreshadowed his impressive rookie season with an impressive Pro Day. Exactly a year later, North Dakota State's Trey Lance likely improved his draft stock after putting up a solid pro day performance.
All but five of the NFL's 32 teams were represented at North Dakota State's pro day. The Panthers, Broncos, Eagles, Bears and Jets were among the teams that watched Lance display his arm strength, accuracy and mobility. NFL coaches on hand for Lance's pro day included the Bears' Matt Nagy, the Lions' Dan Campbell, and the Panthers' Matt Rhule.
Because teams told Lance's camp that they were more interested in watching him throw, Lance eschewed the 40-yard-dash, following a recent trend of first-round quarterbacks -- Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray included -- that did not run the 40. Any possible questions about Lance's mobility were put to rest in the FCS National Championship, when Lance -- who wore a GPS tracker during the game -- was clocked at running over 21 miles per hour on a 44-yard touchdown run.
Lance, officially listed at 6-foot-4, 226-pounds, was excited to showcase his talents in front of league coaches, scouts and executives.
"This is pretty much my Super Bowl," Lance said, via Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. "It's what I get for 2020. I'm just so excited for it, feel so prepared for it, where that just kind of handles the pressure by itself. My mindset toward it is like I'm going into a game. Whether it's a game or this, I prepare to the point where I feel like I've done everything I possibly can to be as ready as I possibly can be to do my very best.
"And at that point, it's just attitude and effort. Those are easy things for me."
By all accounts, Lance's preparation paid off. He specifically raised eyebrows with his deep sideline pass that covered 52 yards.
Lance is the fourth-ranked quarterback and 10th-best player in this year's CBS Sports prospect rankings. Three of our four CBS Sports NFL draft analysts have the 49ers selecting Lance with the 12th-overall pick.
"Lance is a mobile quarterback with a strong arm and the ability to drive the ball," says CBS Sports NFL draft analyst Josh Edwards. "At roughly 21 years old and having little more than a year's worth of starting experience at North Dakota State, there is still a lot of room for growth. His decision-making has been poor at times and there was an abnormal amount of balls batted down at the line of scrimmage in a few games. His one-game showcase against Central Arkansas was not inspiring but it factors little into the overall evaluation given the circumstances. Any team willing to select him in the top 10 is doing so based on his ceiling as a player."
Lance recently received high praise from Randy Hedberg, his quarterbacks coach at North Dakota State.
"I think he's a franchise quarterback, I really do," Hedberg said, via the Detroit Free Press. "I think he can carry a franchise with is personality and with his leadership, and I think he has that it factor. And I think that's important. When a guy enters a room, you know who it is. And when he enters a room, you know who he is."