Before I start on this post, I’d like to point out that I have always sided with the idea that Justin Fields has been, and is one of the top two quarterbacks in the country since high school, college, and right up until now, just days away from the NFL Draft.
The kid is good. He proved it in high school, in quarterback camp competitions, and in two years at Ohio State. He’s gutsy, shows tremendous toughness and leadership abilities, has a good arm, and is more of a quarterback than an athlete.
That being said, for whatever reason, Justin’s stock appears to have fallen since his final college game- a blowout loss to Alabama in the BCS National Championship, a game in which by the way, he was playing with a hip pointer injury he suffered the week before against Clemson in the Sugar Bowl, and he was without his starting running back, Trey Sermon, who was injured on the opening drive of the title game.
Despite an admirable performance, Ohio State and Fields never stood a chance against Alabama, who could have as many as five to six players go in the first round of Thursday’s NFL Draft.
Still, after his season ended, it seemed that Fields had done nothing to hurt his stock, and yet, three months later, somehow, someway, Fields stock has done exactly that, dropped.
I can only think of three reasons why:
1- Throwing motion isn’t clean
Fields has a throwing motion that has a little bit of a hitch as it hits the top of his throw (look at the cover photo for reference or the videos below). It’s not as crisp as some other quarterbacks, and to be honest, it’s really not a big deal, but you know scouts and how they think, and for them, that little hitch in his throw is enough to take off some points in their grades. Also, because of the motion, scouts might see simple throws, almost become an adventure, like crossing routes within 5-yards that are thrown too high or behind receivers. It’s not so much an accuracy issue, but some scouts will argue that it’s a motion issue instead.
2- Performances versus good defenses
People always seem to bring up two performances that show that Justin Fields isn’t as good as advertised- the Big 10 Title game against Northwestern, and the National Title game against Alabama.
Against Northwestern, Fields completed just 12 of 27 passes for 114 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. Against Alabama, Fields was 17 of 33 for 194 and 1 touchdown as Ohio State lost 52-24.
Here’s the game log from Fields for those two games and if you want, take a look at the highlights:
So does this confirm that Fields isn’t everything everybody thought he was? Because he didn’t play up to par in two games this season? Because if it is, then Tom Brady would have benched last season following an embarrassing 38-3 loss at home, on a Monday night, when Brady fired three interceptions.
No, Fields isn’t Brady, but he is human, kinda like Brady is. He had his tough games here and there, like the Northwestern game, or playing in the BCS Title Game with a hip injury and without his starting RB, but never mind that. No, also, let’s forget the Sugar Bowl game the week before when slaughtered Clemson for six touchdown passes, three of which came after his hip injury.
Nah, the dude is a bust.
3- Ohio State’s recent quarterback history
Ohio State isn’t exactly Quarterback U if you know that I’m saying. Maybe Defensive End U “Bosa brothers and Chase Young”, but not quarterbacks. If you look at their recent history, lets go to 2011, they’ve had three quarterbacks drafted:
All were good quarterbacks at Ohio State, but not exactly household names in the NFL. That’s the stigma, the hill, the mountain, that Justin Fields is up against
It’s not his fault, he shouldn’t be fall under the “guilty by association” category of his fellow throwers at Ohio State, yet somehow he has.
If we judge a player by the school’s history, then a quarterback like Easton Stick, should have been a 1st round pick from North Dakota State (based off of what Carson Wentz did), but no, Stick was a 5th round pick back in 2019, and is currently buried on the Chargers depth chart.
So to judge Fields as another “Ohio State QB bust” is completely unfair and unjust. The only way to break that stigma, is to shatter it completely, and honestly, Justin Fields is the guy to do that.
The fact that he’s fallen from the 2nd best overall quarterback to #3, #4, or #5, or even pick #32 as Chris Simms recently did in his mock draft (which is a complete joke and deserves no link to further inflate such garbage), is a travesty. Take off the blinders, and realize this kid is special. He’s a baller. He’s been one since high school, was one in college, and will be in the NFL, whoever decides to pick him.
Go get em’ Justin! You got this kid!