Dwayne Haskins’ brief and disastrous stint with the Washington Football Team may have lasting ramifications for Justin Fields’ football career.
Fields was at one point regarded as a guaranteed top-two pick behind Trevor Lawrence of Clemson. Now some folks are expressing doubts.
Haskins is just the latest in a long line of Buckeye quarterback flameouts, joining the likes of J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones, Braxton Miller, Terrelle Pryor and Troy Smith. Out of that whole group, the only one to make any real noise was Pryor, and that was primarily for getting stabbed.
This week, ESPN analyst Desmond Howard said what everyone else is thinking as far as betting a high draft selection on Fields, based on what we’ve seen from other Ohio State quarterbacks over the past few years.
“He comes from a program where they don’t have a history of developing players at his position where they will be successful at the next level,” Howard said.
“You would be a complete idiot not to look at that factor. I’m not going to say it’ll weigh as heavy as other factors and statistics, but you must look at that if you’re going to draft him in the first round.”
“He comes from a program where they don’t have a history of developing players at his position where they will be successful at the next level.” pic.twitter.com/g38IQuFKIi
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) December 30, 2020
To be fair, Fields is an objectively talented quarterback. Over the past two years he has thrown for 4,794 yards, 56 touchdowns, and only eight interceptions.
That said – he has also struggled badly at times this year. Five of those eight career interceptions at Ohio State have come this season over the span of the last six games. Two of his worst performances in 2020 came against a pair of the better programs he’s faced off against: Indiana and Northwestern.
In that latter outing, with a Big Ten Championship on the line, Fields finished with 114 yards and two interceptions on 12-of-27 passing. On the ground, he ran 12 times for 35 yards.
If you’re an NFL team like the New York Jets, ready to risk the next five years of the franchise on the No. 2 overall pick, do you really feel like Fields provides you with something that Sam Darnold doesn’t? Colin Cowherd doesn’t think so.
Fields will answer a lot of questions in the College Football Playoff. If he comes up big, proves Dabo Swinney wrong and erases the memory of that Northwestern game, a case could be made for taking him with the second pick. If not – he could see his stock plummet dramatically heading into the draft.