Trey Lance and NDSU will get an unprecedented 2021 NFL Draft showcase game.
Some of the top prospects available for the 2021 NFL Draft are coming from the FCS level, and they aren’t going to get a chance to prove their draft status on the field.
At least, that was once the case.
According to a report from Pete Thamel at Yahoo! Sports, top 2021 NFL Draft prospect Trey Lance and the North Dakota State Bison are going to play one game in the fall of 2020 against Central Arkansas to essentially showcase Lance’s talent to NFL teams.
Although Lance is the projected top-five draft pick (he’s been a frequent flyer in the top 5-10 picks of early 2021 NFL mock draft scenarios) there are a couple of other notable prospects for North Dakota State who will get a chance to impress NFL scouts in this game.
One of the top players will be protecting Lance’s backside — left tackle Dillon Radunz. Radunz has NFL size, length, and football IQ, and has drawn some early top 40-50 talk from those who have watched him extensively.
With Lance and Radunz poised to be picked in the first two rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft, there are others in this game who can benefit from another showcase and potential boost in stock.
Obviously, Lance can’t throw the football to himself. 6-foot-4 wide receiver Christian Watson led the Bison in receiving last season and showed off his big-play ability, legit speed, and playmaking ability after the catch as well.
Watson has a chance to elevate his draft stock going up against him yet another intriguing prospect in this showcase game, Central Arkansas cornerback Robert Rochell.
Rochell made Bruce Feldman’s 2020 college football ‘freaks’ list for his leaping ability. At 6-foot-1, 197 pounds, Rochell allegedly runs a 4.38 with a 41-inch vertical jump.
The former wide receiver turned defensive back has bulked up, picked off nine passes over the last two seasons, and has drawn top 75 talk as Jordan Reid alluded to.
All in all, this one game is not entirely representative of the tremendous talent coming from the FCS level in 2020, but it could feature three of the highest-drafted FCS players in 2021.
Inadvertently, Thamel may have given away Lance’s plans to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. Nothing is set in stone, but with all of the top 10 talk he’s been getting, it was reasonable enough to assume anyway.
If Lance wasn’t planning to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft, why the showcase game?
As weird as this whole situation is, we’ll be tuning in.