Keyshawn Johnson ranks Justin Fields and other sophomore QBs originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
When asked to rank the five starting quarterbacks going into their second year in the league, Keyshawn Johnson didn't disappoint Bears fans.
"Justin Fields sits at number two," Keyshawn Johnson said on ESPN. "I like him. Not that the Chicago Bears are all of a sudden gonna shock the Green Bay Packers and win the division. I just think he's gonna continue to grow at the position."
Johnson ranked Fields over Mac Jones, Trey Lance and Zach Wilson, but one spot under Trevor Lawrence. The surprise ranking is Fields over Jones.
Jones played and started all 17 games last season for the New England Patriots. He led them to a playoff berth with a 10-7 record. In the regular season, he threw for 3,801 yards and 22 touchdowns, giving up 13 interceptions. He was named a Pro-Bowler and came second on the list for Rookie of the Year behind Jamar Chase.
Fields had an underwhelming first season. He threw for under 2,000 yards and nine total touchdowns while dealing with coaching issues, internal quarterback competition and injuries. He played in 12 games, winning two of them.
The argument for Fields can be made surrounding the talent level around him. The roster underperformed last season and the season ended with terminations to head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace.
Jones, on the other hand, has Bill Belichick on his team along with a serviceable roster that went to the playoffs with Tom Brady one season prior.
Johnson's ranking is dependent upon Fields outperforming Jones this season. Jones still has a far superior roster, as Fields is playing through a rebuild with the Bears. General manager Ryan Poles let high profile free agents walk (Allen Robinson, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, etc.) and traded away Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Fields has shown positive signs in preseason, such as the team's final game against the Browns, when Fields threw for 156 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. But, with the lights on for real games, it's yet to be seen how Fields will perform.
Bears fans would like to think Fields can outperform Jones, since Fields is far more versatile with his feet and has shown flashes of being a playmaker. Jones settles nicely into Belichick's highly simplistic offense, maintaining his figure as a pocket quarterback.
Nonetheless, it's encouraging to know other figures around the league believe Fields has a high ceiling, despite his roller coaster rookie season.
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