2021 NFL Draft: Justin Fields Player Profile

Justin Fields 2021 NFL Draft Overview

Position: Quarterback
Height: 6’-3”
Weight: 227 pounds
School: Ohio State

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Justin Fields 2021 NFL Draft Profile

Quarterback Justin Fields enters the NFL Draft hoping to disprove the narrative surrounding Ohio State quarterbacks. While the school has failed to produce NFL-caliber passers in previous years, they’ve never produced anyone quite as good as Fields. The dual-threat quarterback is coming off an yet another elite season, completing 69.9% of his passes for 2,093 yards, 9.3 yards per attempt, 22 touchdowns, and six interceptions.

Fields initially entered the collegiate football ranks as one of the top recruits in the nations. Considered the 1B to Trevor Lawrence’s 1A, Fields eventually committed to Ohio State after receiving offers from basically every major program in the country. That decision ultimately paid off, as the quarterback earned the starting job as a Sophomore. During his first year running the offense, Fields completed 66.8% of his passes for 3,272 yards, 9.2 yards per attempt, 41 touchdowns, and just three interceptions.

Strengths

  • Deadly accurate – no window is too tight for him;
  • Blessed with an absolute cannon – no part of the field he cannot reach;
  • Keeps the ball out of harm’s way and keeps the offense moving forward;
  • Aggressive quarterback that isn’t afraid to push the ball down the field;
  • Absolute nightmare to defend in the run game – speed and size combination is just unfair;
  • Not afraid of taking a big hit to deliver a pass or convert in short-yardage;
  • Played through a serious rib injury – nobody should question his drive and passion;
  • Sound fundamentals with stress-free throwing motion.

Weaknesses

  • Ohio State’s offense didn’t force him to go to the second read too often;
  • Struggled to diagnose blitz throughout 2020;
  • Accuracy on the move could use some improvement;
  • Doesn’t sense edge pressure, which can lead to unnecessary big hits;
  • Fumbles were an issue prior to 2020.

NFL Comparison: Deshaun Watson

Teams With Need At Position: Carolina PanthersSan Francisco 49ersLas Vegas RaidersPittsburgh SteelersAtlanta Falcons, New England Patriots

Projection: Top-five pick

Bottom Line on Justin Fields

If he reaches his ceiling, Justin Fields will be the best quarterback in this class. Each one of the top-four draft-eligible quarterbacks boast an absolute rocket, but Fields’ combination of arm strength and accuracy is the most enviable of the prospects. It’s rare to see a quarterback this aggressive keep the ball out of harm’s way at such a consistent basis, but that’s exactly what Fields did during his time at Ohio State. Add in his ability as a rusher, and it’s hard to find anything that Fields doesn’t have the physical capability of doing.

Of course, there is a very real chance that Fields doesn’t reach his ceiling. Most evaluators will question his ability to go through his reads, but I don’t think that’s as big of an issue as consensus. According to Pro Football Focus, Fields had the highest grade of all the major prospects when throwing to his second or third read. The biggest problem is that he didn’t have to do it too often, as Ohio State’s offense was very quarterback-friendly. Additionally, Fields can hold on to the ball too long, which invites big hits and fumbles. This is the only major concern I have with his game, and something that will need to improve at the next level.

Truthfully, evaluating Fields reminds me of evaluating Deshaun Watson back in 2017. At the time, most viewed the Clemson product as a great physical talent that needed to improve the mental side of his game due to an overly-friendly college offense. Watson obviously worked out (from a purely on-field standpoint), and I expect the same from Fields.

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