Elite WRs excited to help 'dynamic' Justin Fields if Bears call in draft
Elite WRs excited to help 'dynamic' Fields if Bears call in draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
INDIANAPOLIS -- Many people have questions about Bears quarterback Justin Fields and his ability to win from the pocket in the NFL.
There's no doubt that the soon-to-be 24-year-old quarterback's passing has to improve in Year 3. Fields knows that. So do the Bears.
But what was evident Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine is that Fields' electric second season in Chicago left an impression on the top receivers in the 2023 NFL Draft class. Fields needs an elite receiver to help him elevate his game.
The best names in the 2023 class are all willing to line up to play with Fields, not that they'd say anything different in what is the biggest job interview in sports.
"Justin Fields is dynamic," Tennessee's Jalin Hyatt said Friday in Indianapolis. "He's somebody that can get you the ball, somebody that can run with his legs, somebody that can kind of take over games. He actually takes over games. For me, if I ever had the chance to play with him, first of all, I'd just want to show that he can trust me. I want to show him that in practice and training camp. Be consistent with him. Make sure that he can count on me whenever it's third down, second down, first down, whatever it is.
"I would love to play with Justin Fields. He's a dynamic player who can take over games and I would try to help him with that too."
Hyatt, the 2022 Biletnikoff Award winner, enters the combine as a projected second-round pick. Of all the big names in the 2023 class, Hyatt is probably the most likely to end up in Chicago.
The Bears own the No. 1 pick but don't have another selection until the back end of the second round. But the trade return general manager Ryan Poles receives for the top selection could significantly impact the Bears' ability to draft one of the top pass-catchers.
If Poles can find a way to get the Bears a pick in the 12-35 range, he'll be able to pick from a group of dynamic playmakers who would love to help Fields blossom.
"He can make plays with his legs," Boston College's Zay Flowers said. "If people didn't know, he can throw the ball, too. He was really a throwing quarterback. But he just had to use his legs last year. Being able to play somebody like that dynamic would just help my game. ... I think we can complement each other."
Added TCU's Quentin Johnston: "I kind of gravitate to the younger guys in the league. He's very versatile, very athletic. Good on the run and in the air. That's something I'm used to, I've had a running quarterback since high school. I could see myself fitting there very well."
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Chicago native and Michigan State star Jayden Reed knows how special Fields is after facing him in the Big 10. The 5-foot-11 Spartan obviously would jump at the chance to help Fields build his hometown team into a championship contender.
"I was really excited about them drafting Justin Fields," Reed said Friday. "With me playing against him, I knew he was a great player. He's definitely going to change the franchise.
"I can create separation. He can find me easily due to me creating quick separation," Reed said of his potential connection with Fields. "I feel like I can take the top off the defense. He has a very strong arm where I can run under balls for him."
Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the guy Fields hopes Poles will bring to Chicago: Ohio State's Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Fields said last month that he wants the Bears to draft his former Ohio State teammates. That's something the two have been plotting since Fields arrived in Chicago.
"Since he's been in Chicago, we've always talked about it," Smith-Njigba said Friday. "Him being like a big brother to me, I definitely appreciate it, coming from a guy like that.
"It would mean a lot. I would definitely appreciate that there in Chicago, Justin Fields, playing with an elite quarterback, I think it would just be good for both of us to be there, to have that support on and off the field, would definitely mean a lot to me."
When asked about the criticism of Fields as a passer, Smith-Njigba scoffed.
"I wouldn't think they were very smart," Smith-Njigba said of those who say Fields is a running back playing quarterback. "I would think they should do so more research, some more film watching, more something. Do something different.
"He's whatever you need him to be. He's a great passer. He has a great arm, great eyes, great vision, reads the defense very well. You know, critics. You know how it is."
The Bears have a good No. 2 receiver in Darnell Mooney and hope that Chase Claypool fully downloads the offense and develops a rapport with Fields in the offseason.
Still, a No. 1 receiver is needed in Chicago to give Fields the best chance at reaching his ceiling as a passer.
There will be plenty of options for the Bears in the draft. They have a quarterback guys are thirsting to play with. They just have to find a way to put themselves in position to grab one.
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