What Justin Fields Needs To Accomplish Before NFL Draft?

Brian Lamb
Brian Lamb is the owner of NFL Draft Lounge and has covered the NFL Draft since 2011. Brian is also the owner of the Infinity Sports Network, which NFL Draft Lounge belongs to.

As we approach the 2021 NFL Draft, the quarterback position is going to be a hot topic yet again.  Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence appears to be the class of the field, but there is competition up front.  Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is a dual-threat at the position and has the opportunity to become a top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Fields had tremendous production in 2019 for the Buckeyes. If he’s able to capitalize on that, show consistent improvement, and keep the Buckeyes in contention, his name could be one mentioned quite often as we approach the NFL Draft season.

It’s time to dive into a closer look on Justin Fields.  Let’s take a look at some background on Fields as we continue our summer scouting series.


The Background

Justin Fields was a five-star rated prospect and the top dual-threat quarterback.  Field was ranked 2nd nationally by 247Sports and Rivals.  Fields was named the MVP of the 2017 Elite 11 QB competition.  Originally signed with the University of Georgia, but also visited LSU.  Received offers from Alabama, Florida, and Texas as well.

Fields saw limited playing time at the University of Georgia behind QB Jake Fromm.  Following his first semester, Fields opted to transfer to Ohio State.  Fields was able to obtain a transfer waiver that allowed him to play immediately for the Buckeyes.

2019 was an exemplary year for Fields as he threw for 41 touchdowns and three interceptions.  Additionally, Fields threw for over 3,200 yards and a completion percentage of 67.2%.

In addition to the statistics, Fields was also a 2019 Heisman Trophy finalist, a Davey O’Brien Trophy finalist, and a 2019 First Team All-Big Ten.

If Justin Fields is able to produce similar numbers this coming season, he could potentially be a top prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft.  

Let’s take a look at what makes Justin Fields a special NFL Draft prospect.


What I Like About Justin Fields

Justin Fields is someone to keep on your radar.  As you’ll see below, he has the skillset and abilities to make it as a quarterback in the National Football League.  In terms of his 2021 NFL Draft stock, I believe that we could see Justin Fields crack the top ten. Below, I’ll show you why I believe that. 

Pocket Movement

Fields displays a really solid ability to maneuver throughout the pocket to avoid pressure here.  With pressure coming from the middle of the offensive line, Fields is able to use his agility to elude defenders and keep the play alive.  Fields does this while keeping his eyes downfield to make accurate reads along the sidelines.  Although the play resulted in an incomplete pass, it was a solid effort from Fields.

Working Through Progressions

Here we have Justin Fields working through his progressions to find his slot receiver across the middle of the field.  Fields display a calming presence to throw in between coverage and convert the first down.  In addition to his ability to run through his progressions to find the open receiver, Fields does a nice job of hitting the receiver in stride.

Acceleration and Agility

This play perfectly highlights the acceleration and top end speed that Justin Fields possesses.  It also displays why he has the ability to be such a dynamic prospect throughout the 2021 NFL Draft process.  Fields has a wide gap to run through, but his ability to accelerate out of the pocket and upfield quickly is why this play results in a touchdown.


What I Don’t Like About Justin Fields

I’m a fan of what Justin Fields is able to do on the football field, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least take a look at the negatives.  I’ve attached some clips below that highlight the areas in which I’m not impressed with Justin Fields.  Let’s take a look at these now.

Short Throw Accuracy

The pocket collapses and Justin Fields is forced to make this throw off his back foot.  However, this is still a throw that he has to make, and will be asked to make, at the next level in the NFL.  Fields has the right side of the field to work with, but is unable to deliver a catchable ball within the receiver’s range.

Downfield Accuracy

Much like the throw above, Justin Fields’ inability to throw with anticipation and place the ball in front of the receiver is highlighted.  It’s a 40 yard throw, but the receiver has to stop and come back to the ball to attempt the catch.  Once again, these are the throws that Justin Fields will be asked to make each and every week in the NFL.  Windows are much tighter the National Football League, so this is an area where Justin Fields must focus on improving.


The Competition

As impressive as Justin Fields was during the 2019 season at Ohio State, he’s not the top quarterback prospect.  That spot belongs to Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.

Trevor Lawrence, profiled by us here, is likely to be the top prospect overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.  Lawrence has been a pro-ready prospect for several seasons now.

In addition to Lawrence, Justin Fields faces additional competition at the quarterback position.  Trey Lance from North Dakota State is likely to be a top prospect, too.  Lance doesn’t face the same level of competition as the others in this class, but he’s extremely talented.

Outside of the quarterback position, Justin Fields is likely to face competition in the 2021 NFL Draft from prospects such as Gregory Rousseau, Micah Parsons, Penei Sewell, and JaMarr Chase.


The Verdict

In terms of the 2021 NFL Draft, Ohio State’s Justin Fields is certainly a first round prospect, especially at this point in the process.  In fact, I think he has a solid shot at making the top fifteen overall.

However, there are clear flaws within Justin Fields’ game.  As I highlighted previously, accuracy and the ability to throw with anticipation are areas of concern for me.  

If Fields is able to improve in these areas and build upon a successful 2019 season, we could see Justin Fields take a huge leap and head into the 2021 NFL Draft process with a high level of draft stock.

As we get into the summer months, be sure to follow NFL Draft Lounge as we go in-depth on our summer scouting series.  Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter or like the NFL Draft Lounge page on Facebook.

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