Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is widely regarded as one of the best young passers in the 2021 NFL Draft. Where things get tricky is trying to figure out what precisely he will be able to contribute at the next level.
When it comes to the presumed No. 1 overall selection, Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson, everyone feels like they know what they’re getting. He is a generational, game-changing quarterback similar to what Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert are perceived to be.
Fields, however, is more of a question mark.
This week, Pro Football Network’s NFL Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline described in great detail what many view as the biggest red flag regarding Fields.
“The main concern is that Justin Fields stares down the primary target,” he said.
“He doesn’t look away from the primary target. He doesn’t process things as quickly as they want him to. During the Senior Bowl, I mentioned how there was one team who has broken down all of Justin Fields’ passes in 2020. They said that just seven times, he looked off the primary target. The other 200+ passes he threw to his primary target.”
Right or wrong, the tone of the conversation around Fields changed dramatically after Dwayne Haskins flamed out with the Washington Football Team. Comparisons began to get drawn – and not good ones.
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 21, 2021
When Urban Meyer got hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars, there was some chatter that perhaps he would be the one to bestow diamond in the rough status to Fields. However, that didn’t end up happening. He rated Lawrence and Fields in the exact same way as everyone else – with the former being regarded as the significantly better pro prospect.
When presented with the option of either having Sam Darnold as the quarterback of the New York Jets or the team taking Fields, Fox Sports radio broadcaster Colin Cowherd suggested it wasn’t even close.
Obviously things can change and it’s impossible to predict the future. Nobody really knows anything right now and hindsight is always 20/20. Few had Herbert as being a superior player to Tua Tagovailoa, and yet their rookie campaigns proved that to be the case. Herbert thrived, while Tagovailoa’s own teammates came out and publicly disowned him.
But the concerns around Fields are out there and they are growing louder. How will they ultimately effect his draft status? Time will tell.