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Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Size: 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds
Age: 22-years-old (3/5/1999)
Born and raised in the Metro-Atlanta area, Justin comes from an athletic family. His father, Ivant “Pablo” Fields, was a linebacker at Eastern Kentucky University, and his younger sister, Jaiden, plays softball at UGA.
As a teen at Harrison High School, Fields was a two-sport standout, excelling at both baseball (shortstop and second base) and football. His love for the gridiron, however, was undeniable and, in fact, documented over Season 2 of the Netflix series, “QB1: Beyond the Lights.”
Mr. Georgia Football 2018, Fields was one of the most sought-after recruits at the position. Ranked just ahead of Trevor Lawrence by ESPN (but one spot behind the Clemson-commit per Rivals), the local kid eventually decided to stay close to home and committed to Georgia. His time in Athens was short-lived, though, as Fields spent his true freshman year backing up Jake Fromm.
In 2019, the former Dawg transferred to Ohio State. Fields made an immediate impact as a Buckeye, leading his new squad to a Big Ten Championship and the College Football Playoffs. Ending the season third in Heisman Trophy voting, Fields earned a passer rating of 131.0 and recorded a TD:INT ratio of 41:3.
Due to Covid-19, the Big Ten instituted a shortened season in 2020. Over eight games, Fields’ play was admittedly erratic, though he managed a career YPA of 9.3 and additionally rushed in five scores. Despite falling to Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship, Fields won the Big Ten's Offensive Player of the Year Award for the second straight year.
He’s expected to be a top-five (three?) selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Pros: Routinely accurate; high-end mobility; excellent size and strength for the position.
Cons: Holds on to the ball too long; occasional processing issues; less accurate on the run.
The Big Picture
There’s plenty of tape on Justin Fields demonstrating his toughness. But that hit to the ribs that he took in the Sugar Bowl? And then played through? Well, that is #PeakFields.
An impressive blend of power and agility, Fields can create on his own, be it with his arm or his legs. In possession of a quick release, the 22-year-old is an electric passer who can accurately deliver the ball to all levels of the field. Per PFF, he recorded an adjusted completion percentage of 80.8 percent (QB2) and earned passing grades of 94.5 and 96.5 when throwing over 10-19 and 20+ yards, respectively.
He’s an additional asset as a runner, particularly on third downs. Again via PFF, he earned the highest rushing grade from non-RBs in this rookie class (84.3). His leg drive is strong — but still quick — and always enterprising.
Detractors will say he holds onto the ball too long. They might also point to his accuracy waning when he throws on the move. And his pocket awareness — specifically remaining calm in the face of pressure — needs improving.
Still, the good far outweighs the bad. And experience will undoubtedly push Fields to evolve his current skill set up to ROI in an RPO-heavy offense.
NFL Comp: Dak Prescott
So yeah … about that RPO heavy offense? San Francisco seems like a nice fit, but Vegas odds continue to shift ahead of the draft, with the latest having Mac Jones the current betting favorite and even Trey Lance moving ahead of Fields. We have yet to see what will happen with Jimmy G, but Fields’ mobility certainly makes him, at least, a super-flex target in 2021 if he does land in the Bay (were he to start). If he falls, we'll have to see what team he lands with before making a call.
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