Kiper & McShay – Early-season college football takeaways, plus expectations for Trey Lance’s lone 2020 start

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Well, we are a few weeks into the 2020 college football season, and we’ve already seen some exciting performances from top 2021 NFL draft prospects. The SEC has now begun its season, and the Big Ten isn’t far behind. What have we learned so far? Who has stood out? And what adjustments to draft class rankings need to be made based on the first month of college football?

Our NFL draft analysts — Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay — give their biggest takeaways from the college season to this point, and then name one early-season riser and one under-the-radar prospect to continue to watch. Plus, with North Dakota State set to play its only game of the season this Saturday, Mel and Todd explain what they are looking for from one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2021 class, Trey Lance.

What are your biggest early-season takeaways?

McShay: I’ll start with the No. 1 prospect on everyone’s board. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was in complete control against Wake Forest to start the season, completing 22 of 28 passes for 351 yards and a touchdown (and he added another pair of scores on the ground). After rolling up Citadel 49-0 a week later and then getting an off week, he carries a 91.9 Total QBR into this weekend’s home game against Virginia.

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His anticipation and accuracy are


Is Trey Lance about to play his final college game?

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(Stats Perform) – Whether North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance will play his final game with the Bison is the big question that surrounds Saturday’s highly anticipated game with Central Arkansas.

NFL scouts are eyeing the matchup as a showcase for North Dakota State’s 2021 draft prospects. The 6-foot-4, 226-pound Lance, who swept the Stats Perform 2019 Walter Payton and Jerry Rice awards, is often projected to be a first-round pick should he enter the April 29-May 1 draft as a redshirt sophomore.

“His level of preparation is even a step more,” NDSU offensive coordinator Tyler Roehl said last week. “Since he’s seen all these pictures from defenses through an entire season, now he can kind of revert to, ‘Hey, I saw that picture versus X, Y, Z. We got this pressure and we adjusted this way with this game plan.’ Almost being a step ahead.”

Some leading NFL Draft analysts assessed Lance’s skill set and considered whether he is about to play his final college game:

Ric Serritella, NFL Draft Bible

“The current trend around the NFL has teams transitioning to offensive schemes that mimic those at the collegiate level, ones that involve a lot of quick-read options. Lance is an appealing pro prospect due to his dual-threat style of play, prototype size and arm strength to make all the throws necessary at the next level. His decision-making clearly shows that he possesses a high football IQ and he has been a team captain at every level, a testament to his leadership. In addition, he hails from a football family and grew up around the game.

“The level of competition shouldn’t worry evaluators too much, it appears he can compete at an elite level, no matter who the opponent. However, his lack of experience as a one-year starter means