Justin Fields: Contextualized Quarterbacking 2021

For anyone new to the family here at The Draft Network, Contextualized Quarterbacking is an annual project I put together for TDN Premium subscribers. In Contextualized Quarterbacking, I chart the significant draft-eligible quarterbacks across their final seasons, tagging each dropback with a ton of situational features that allow us to understand their game at more specific and situational levels.

Each throw is graded both for Accuracy and for Ball Placement. Accuracy is a general metric for catchable passes—an accurate pass is a catchable pass—while Placement scores take more details into account: maximizing YAC opportunities, protecting the wide receiver from unnecessary hits, and protecting the ball from being played on by the defensive back. Throws are also charted relative to depth and passing direction, to understand how target distribution affects accuracy scores for each quarterback. It’s harder to throw deep!

Contextualized Quarterbacking helps us understand what each college offense asked of their quarterback, which gives us an additional tool for projecting these passers to the pros. When we understand their college offense, we can better identify those skills that will translate to the pro level, and accordingly, project the ideal scheme fits for each player.

Justin Fields’ profile in Contextualized Quarterbacking, from the simple accuracy down to the detailed contextual data, reveals the same thing that any honest evaluation of Fields’ film or numbers does: the young man can play. Fields is an imperfect prospect who needs to invite fewer pressures and script better responses to pressure, but his elite accuracy and placement scores remain strong when throwing under pressure, from different platforms, and yes, even beyond his first read—something he did on 42 of his 220 chartable attempts, in case anyone was wondering.

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