Justin Fields Draft Profile
Justin Fields has the intangibles that you just can’t coach. He is the toughest quarterback I have ever seen coming out of the draft. He is competitive, he has swagger, and he has that dog in him. Controversy is nothing new to him and he always finds a way to punch adversity in its face. Fields is the type of teammate that other players would want to go to war with. These are the traits that you can’t coach, but all of the best quarterbacks have. Fields is the type of teammate to run 50 yards downfield to throw a block for his running back, then celebrate with him… just watch the Michigan State game. Fields is a winner and general managers will fall in love with. He is the best leader in this class and will be a top 10 pick come April.
Like a magician, Fields can make something out of nothing. There will be plays that seem dead from the start, but Fields rolls out and picks up 10 yards with his legs. One of Fields’ best qualities is his deep ball; Fields has a cannon and is extremely accurate downfield. Fields thrives while throwing on the run and would do well in a system that utilizes a lot of bootlegs and movement. Fields has an extremely strong base and is capable of making ridiculous throws without having his feet set. Another un-coachable trait is that Fields knows when to turn it on. Something clicks for him and he becomes just unstoppable. It is Russell Wilson-esque where no matter how tight the coverage or fast the rush is getting home, Fields finds a way to step up and make the play. Fields has a ton of poise when throwing in the pocket and is able to make big time completions with defenders in his face. He is extremely mobile and a legitimate threat as a runner coming out of the backfield. Fields can fit the ball into tight windows and put a lot of zip on the ball. At Ohio State, Fields showed that he was capable of throwing the ball with anticipation and going through his progressions cleanly. Fields has the potential to be a top 10 quarterback in the NFL.
While Fields was extremely productive in Columbus, there are parts of his game that need a lot of improvement. The good news for Fields, is that most of these flaws can be fixed with a good quarterback coach. Starting off with footwork, his drop back can get lazy and he will rely solely on arm strength to make throws. Sloppy mechanics led to a lot of tipped balls in his final year at Ohio State which will hurt him at the next level. A big part of Ohio State’s system is downfield passing which means a lot of “late to develop” passing concepts. This resulted in Fields holding on to the ball for a long time and taking a lot of sacks and big hits. While Fields greatest strength is his toughness, he needs to protect himself better once he gets into the NFL. He struggled a lot against Northwestern this year who brought a ton of exterior pressure. Fields can also fall into a drought where he misses a lot of throws that will result in either incompletions or interceptions. At the next level, most of these issues can be fixed with a great quarterback coach.
Justin Fields had arguably the greatest single game quarterback performance in College Football History against Clemson in the playoffs in his final season. In that game, Fields threw for 385 yards, six touchdowns, and one interception. Ohio State were big underdogs coming into this game, but Fields would not be denied. He started the game off slinging it and got the Buckeyes up by a touchdown in the middle of the second quarter. On a third down, he stepped up in the pocket and took off for the first down. He got blasted by the linebacker and took a hit straight to the ribs that would put most quarterbacks out for the season. Two plays later, Fields limped back into the game and threw a touchdown on his first pass. Despite being in excruciating pain, Fields came back in the game to lead a two minute drill at the end of the half. He kept taking monster hits play-after-play, but was able to throw another touchdown before the end of the half to put the Buckeyes up by 21. Fields was just as good in the second half throwing two touchdowns of over 50 air yards. Fields led up Ohio State to an upset win over Clemson and would take OSU to the college football championship. He was the boxer that kept spitting blood, but wouldn’t go down. Fields has the “it” factor and is capable of being an MVP quarterback.
In all likelihood, Fields future will be determined where he ends up. He is a boom or bust prospect that has a high ceiling and low floor. Fields needs to be put somewhere with a great quarterback coach who will develop his mechanics and decision making. Fields should be in an offense that utilizes play-action and downfield passing. An offense that lets him throw on the run and scramble if need be. It would also be nice for him to have a veteran quarterback that he can play backup for and eventually take the reigns from once he is ready. Good quarterback mentors for him would include: Alex Smith, Cam Newton, or Teddy Bridgewater. Fields will definitely be a top 10 pick and he is a well rounded prospect. He would fit perfectly in Darrell Bevel’s system in Jacksonville. He also has familiarity with head coach Urban Meyer who used to coach Ohio State. If the Jaguars decide to pass on Fields, the Lions, 49ers, and Raiders are all potential fits. Lions head coach, Dan Campbell says he wants players who are will to bite people’s knee caps off. Fields has that same type of mentality and grit to him. Mark Brunell is the quarterbacks coach in Detroit and he would help clean up Fields’ inconsistencies and mechanics. He also wouldn’t have to play right away and can sit behind Jared Goff (who may not be an open book). The Lions have the picks if they want to trade up and would be a great destination for Justin Fields. After the 49ers have traded up, I expect them to be a likely landing spot for Fields. This would be another great fit. Kyle Shanahan gets the quarterback who can make every throw possible and Fields inherits a great supporting cast. This is a match made in heaven.
Fields actually reminds me of a more athletic Matthew Stafford. Both Fields and Stafford have a top notch arm and deep ball. Each of them are known for playing through injuries and being guys who their teammates love. Both guys are leaders, Fields along with Trevor Lawrence led the movement to play college football in 2020. Fields can make tight window throws and improvise on broken plays. Fields is faster and a better runner than Stafford, but both players have a lot of similarities. Fields will ultimately be one of the first quarterbacks taken in the draft and has a very bright future.
Arm Strength + Deep Ball 9.25/10
Pocket poise 7.5/8
Improvisational Skills 5/5
Decision Making + IQ 8.25/10
Against the Blitz 6.75/8
Throw on the Run 5/5
Final Rating: 91
Pro Comparison: Matthew Stafford QB Rams
Team Fits: Jaguars, Lions, Raiders, Saints
Draft Rank: Top 5 player
Draft Projection: Top 7 pick