2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: QB Justin Fields

Photo: Columbus Dispatch-USA TODAY NETWORK

PROSPECT SUMMARY

Justin Fields projects as a franchise quarterback at the NFL level—he offers the blend of throwing ability, athleticism, stature, and clutch play that will cause NFL teams to fall in love with his evaluation, even if his 2020 campaign showed some cracks in his play. Fields' ability as a passer is top shelf when accounting for his natural delivery and how easily he's proven to be able to throw around defenders or work himself into generating velocity and accuracy when on the move; the Buckeyes embraced rolling the pocket with Fields at quarterback to take advantage of his arm strength and the subsequent access he'll get to all areas of the field as a passer. Fields will kill man-coverage heavy teams with his legs; he's big, strong, and yet still quite dynamic as a runner, so breaking contain and converting third downs with his legs is a large staple of the conflict Fields is capable of putting you into as a player. There are also plenty of examples of Fields successfully engineering option-based reps in the mesh point between zone read, RPO concepts and extending even to sparing use of the speed option, giving his NFL coordinator the full bag of tricks to create conflict defenders and isolate them in the game plan. It's what Fields has largely done best. There are instances of overconfidence in his arm and continuing to quicken his process beyond the first read is a needed point of emphasis for Fields to stay "on schedule" and keep his sack totals down, but that is inevitably going to be part of his game that his pro team will have to be ready to live with in the same way it is true for quarterbacks like Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, and others. Their play can be a double-edged sword at times and so it will be for Fields, who is every bit as physically gifted as those previously mentioned passers. Fields will need to arrive to a destination that embraces his ability to win with his legs and the QB run game or else run the risk of a bumpy road early on as a starting NFL quarterback; but if he is paired with a head coach or offensive coordinator who can pull the best parts of his college game and implement them in the NFL, Fields has the potential to splash early.

Ideal Role: Franchise Quarterback

Scheme Fit: Hybrid Spread/West Coast Offense with QB power run dynamics

Written by Kyle Crabbs

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Written By:

Kyle Crabbs

Director of Scouting

Director of Content & Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-host of the Draft Dudes podcast. Former NDT Scouting Overlord.

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