FARGO — On Tuesday morning, it was draft guru Mel Kiper Jr.'s turn to take the Trey Lance NFL Potential Podium. The veteran ESPN analyst said on the network that Lance could very well follow in North Dakota State's recent track record of quarterbacks being drafted of Carson Wentz and Easton Stick, with Lance being mentioned closer to the caliber of Wentz than Stick.

That would mean first-round potential. Kiper has the Bison third-year sophomore ranked at No. 15 overall.

"This kid is a dual threat like Justin Fields," Kiper said, referring to the Ohio State quarterback. "A Justin Fields at a lower level of competition so why shouldn't he be way up there?"

Kiper noted Lance, if he were to come out early, wouldn't be eligible to go to the Senior Bowl. And there has been no hint that Lance will even declare for the draft after this upcoming season.

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"But he was week after week, flawless," Kiper said. "He didn't make mistakes. I mean, zero picks. When have we ever seen that?"

Lance completed 67% of his passes during his redshirt freshman season for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns with no interceptions. The 6-foot-3, 221-pound Lance also rushed for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns helping lead the Bison to a 16-0 record and a Division I FCS national championship.

Lance became the first freshman to win the Walter Payton Award last January. The award is given to the top offensive players in FCS.

Kiper has Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence going first overall and Fields No. 3. Lance is his next highest-rated quarterback after Fields.

Lance has been projected to be selected in the first round in other recent mock drafts, including Sports Illustrated.