ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft of the offseason and has the Carolina Panthers selecting North Dakota State QB Trey Lance with the 8th overall pick.
The Panthers will be heavily involved looking at every option at the quarterback position whether it be in the draft or free agency. Seeing the Panthers being linked to Trey Lance is not a surprise whatsoever and in Kiper's mock drafts, he does not project trades which is likely why Lance is the pick here. Drafting a quarterback is almost a certainty at this point but if the Panthers take the "aggressive" approach that new general manager Scott Fitterer has talked about, they will likely trade up for either BYU's Zach Wilson or Ohio State's Justin Fields.
Trey Lance is a work in progress. The talent is there but he is far from being a finished product, thus is far from making an impact in the Panthers' offense. Wilson and Fields will also have some developing to do but are a little further along.
Lance was North Dakota State's full-time starter for one season but that one season in 2019 is why there is so much buzz surrounding him. He completed 67% of his passes and tossed for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He did a tremendous job of taking care of the football and was also not afraid to use his legs to make plays happen. He rushed for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns on 169 carries. Lance did not play this past fall as FCS schools did not play due to the pandemic.
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