For as long as I can remember, and it’s not a very good memory at that, Justin Fields has always been neck and neck with Trevor Lawrence. From the Elite 11 quarterback competition (which Fields won MVP), to rankings coming out of high school, to the Heisman Trophy candidates, to the Top QBs prior to the 2021 college season, and even one of the top two coming out of college to go to the NFL, and yet somehow, someway….Justin Fields is no longer regarded as the 2nd best, 1A or 1B with Trevor Lawrence anymore.
I honestly don’t get it. Quarterbacks like Trey Lance, Zach Wilson, and in some circles, Mac Jones have all of a sudden passed Justin Fields.
Um…what? Come again? I didn’t hear you the first time? What the heck? How did Justin Fields suddenly, in a matter of months, go from being the second best quarterback prior to a COVID-shortened college season, to possibly the 5th best? What exactly has he done to warrant such a drop because I don’t get it.
He ripped, shredded, and gutted his way to a memorable Sugar Bowl game in which he fired six touchdown passes, four of which came after he took a brutal shot to the hip against Clemson.
He played one week later against Alabama with a hip pointer, and gutted out a performance that wasn’t spectacular, but was honorable and gutsy considering he played hurt and lost his starting RB, Trey Sermon, on the third play of the National Title game.
And yet, despite that memorable, gutsy, and jaw dropping college playoffs, SOMEHOW, Justin Fields has fallen in ranks?
Suddenly, he can’t read a defense. He can’t get off his first read. He locks onto receivers. And according to ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky, Fields’s work ethic was even called into question:
“One, I have heard that he is a last-guy-in, first-guy-out type of quarterback. Like, not the maniacal work ethic. I’ve even heard it compared to Justin Herbert, where it was like, dude, when Justin Herbert showed up, he was like a psychopath when it came to working and get ready for the draft. Or even at school, like, “Give me more, I want to work non-stop.” And I’ve heard that there are issues with Justin Fields’ work ethic.
Did I miss something? When did Mac Jones become the smartest QB in the draft? When did Trey Lance become the most athletic QB in the draft? When did Zach Wilson become the most dynamic player? And when in the bloody hell did Justin Fields become the 3rd, 4th, or 5th best quarterback in the draft?
Seriously…what the heck?
Orlovosky by the way, came back to defend Fields the next day with this tweet:
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) April 1, 2021
So then? Where did this notion of Justin Fields “falling in the draft” come from, because it makes no sense. Zach Wilson had one amazing season at BYU, and now he’s the gem of the draft after Trevor Lawrence? Trey Lance looks like a modern day version of Daunte Culpepper, but faster, and now he’s the third best QB in the draft? Mac Jones is Tom Brady 2.0?
I get the argument that “Ohio State doesn’t produce NFL Quarterbacks”, but Justin Fields isn’t Dwayne Haskins, or JT Barrett, or Cardale Jones, he’s Justin Fields. He started two years at Ohio State after transferring from Georgia and put up solid numbers, displaying a good arm with a dynamic ability to create plays with his legs. He’s not a one trick pony, he’s the full package. He’s every bit as good as Zach Wilson is, oh wait, I forgot, until just a couple of months ago, he was ranked higher than Wilson too!
I’ve heard “well, look how he played against some schools like Northwestern, he wasn’t great there”. Okay, fair point. But I also saw Fields shred Clemson and gut out a performance against Alabama on a bad hip. I also saw Trevor Lawrence complete just 12 of 22 passes against unranked Virginia Tech. I saw Trey Lance complete 50% of his passes against Central Arkansas. I saw Zach Wilson have the worst game of the year against Coastal Carolina in BYU’s only loss. And I saw Mac Jones throw for 14 touchdown passes and a single interception in his final three collegiate games, all against teams ranked in the Top 10.
And despite all the good and bad from the top QB’s in the 2021 Class, Justin Fields has always been the No. 2 passer behind Trevor Lawrence when it came to ranking the two of them. They’ve won their share of battles, be it in games or QB camp competitions, so the fact that Fields is now ranking at the bottom of the 2021 QB class is highly suspicious. If you’re going by school history, then Michigan and Notre Dame would be having their quarterbacks being drafted in the 1st round every year, considering the two best ever came from those schools right?
Is it a racial thing as some have suggested? Is it a “prospect” thing? Like the idea of having a big dude like Lance with his arm and legs and what they can do compared to what Fields can do, or what the smarts of a Jones can do I guess to the what, dumbness of what Fields can’t?
I don’t know, but it doesn’t make sense. School history, intelligence, arm strength, work ethic, the NFL Draft is crazy. If Justin Fields is really dropping in this 2021 QB Class, it for sure isn’t because of his play on the field.