Thursday night, the 2021 NFL Draft will officially begin as the majority of teams try to find the missing piece for their championship dreams. North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance will likely be a top pick for one of the needy teams, such as the Atlanta Falcons or San Francisco 49ers, but he does not know where he will land. However, Lance will be better prepared due to advice from former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.
The NFL prospect met with Heavy ahead of the NFL Draft, courtesy of Sleep Number, to discuss his past success at North Dakota State and his upcoming major life change. He also revealed that Wentz and another NDSU alum have been key sources of information for him as he prepares for the first night of the three-day team-building event.
“Carson Wentz and [Chargers backup] Easton Stick have been the two biggest ones for me throughout this whole process, even going back to October and making my decision to come out,” Lance told Heavy. “Those guys know me and how I think. Me being able to get feedback from them and ask them questions, bounce ideas off of them, and learn [with] them being in different situations their first years in the league and Carson obviously playing as well as he did.
“Just learning as much as I can about how he came in, his mindset when he came in,” Lance continued. “His biggest advice to me is to just take care of myself and just be me, especially coming into this league. It’s a business and different than college football from that standpoint.”
Lance is embracing a unique pre-draft process
While the lack of an official Scouting Combine and other pre-draft events could throw off multiple prospects as they prepare for an important weekend, Lance just pushed forward through the unique season while following the advice of his peers. He embraced the opportunity to watch a lot of college football while continuing to focus on his training schedule.
“[The process] has been awesome, honestly. I can’t complaint about it at all,” Lance told Heavy. “Everyone has talked about how it’s such a weird draft year, but for me and this class, we don’t really know any different. I think the biggest thing was the Combine getting canceled. Obviously, that was last-minute, but other than that, it’s been really smooth.
“I’ve gotten to meet a lot of cool people. My process has been a little bit different, you know, training since October,” Lance continued. “I think I’ve gotten to travel, watch more college football than I ever thought I would be able to.”
Lance last stepped onto a football field during the 2019 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he made a major impression on NFL analysts. He threw for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns without an interception during a perfect season. Lance also rushed for another 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns while leading the team to an FCS National Championship title.
“Being on that stage after winning the national championship in 2019 is a memory, feeling that I will never forget,” Lance said. “That’s the best memory I’ve got from a football standpoint or the best feeling I’ve ever had from a football standpoint. Just the satisfaction of something that we’ve worked so hard for and proved so many people wrong to get there.”
Lance sat down with another Pro Bowl QB to discuss his future
As a Sleep Number athlete, Lance recently had the opportunity to talk to one of the NFL’s top stars — Dak Prescott. The two men discussed several topics, including using the bed and the SleepIQ app to help them recover after difficult workouts. Though Lance has a slight advantage over the two-time Pro Bowl player in that he has been focusing on his sleep game for his entire life.
“My parents were super strict about sleep growing up, so I think it’s something that I’ve carried with me and realized the importance of,” Lance explained. “Recovery — from that standpoint — sleep is the best way to recover, making sure that I’m getting enough sleep and [am] sleeping well. Not just being asleep and being restless.”
Lance will continue to follow this regimen as he prepares for his first season in the NFL. There will be several changes to his schedule as he prepares for Organized Team Activities, training camp, and his first time stepping under center.
The NFL Draft begins on Thursday night with the first round live from Cleveland, OH. ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network will provide coverage for the first 32 picks, as well as the remaining 227 on Friday and Saturday. The Jacksonville Jaguars will be on the board first at the 8 p.m. ET start time, followed by the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, and Atlanta Falcons.