Heading into the 2020 season, Ohio State‘s Justin Fields was seen as the 1B to Trevor Lawrence‘s 1A, both among college football quarterbacks and potential top NFL Draft picks. He is still almost definitely a high first-rounder, but some up-and-down performances and more competition in the draft field has affected his draft stock a bit.
Fields struggled at times, in games against Indiana, Northwestern, and the national championship against Alabama during the 2020 season. He was also as close to perfect as it gets through the first three games of the season, completing over 86-percent of his throws for 908 yards, 11 touchdowns, and no interceptions. In the national semifinal against Clemson, he had one of the best games any quarterback had this year. Going head-to-head with long time rival Lawrence, he threw for 385 yards and six touchdowns, leading the Buckeyes to the 49-28 win, despite playing through injury.
Some teams reportedly have Justin Fields down their draft boards, and even as low as the fourth round. Today’s Pro Day performance at Ohio State should help matters.
Fields showed what a special athlete he is at the quarterback position, running the 40-yard dash at either 4.43 or 4.44, depending on the report. That is absolutely flying for any quarterback—or football player, really—especially one who measured in at 6-foot-3 and almost 230 pounds.
Only 1st-Round QB to run a faster 40 time at the Combine since 2006 than Justin Fields’ unofficial 4.44 today was Robert Griffin III, who ran a 4.41 at the 2012 Combine. https://t.co/dDLMkPgtwA
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 30, 2021
Fields is an accurate passer, and can really sling it, even if he isn’t quite at Trevor Lawrence or Zach Wilson‘s level in terms of arm talent. Throw in his ability to make plays with his legs, and he’s a truly rare talent.
Justin Fields running a mid-4.4 40 today probably doesn't shock coaches who've actually faced him: "I’ve seen him run away from some pretty good athletes. I think people may not realize just what a special athlete he is — or how big this kid is.” https://t.co/OwFm0tfqxD
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) March 30, 2021
not that it matters (we know he's super fast, don't count it twice) but Fields looked like he stumbled a little bit too on that 4.44 40
— Danny Kelly (@DannyBKelly) March 30, 2021
There’s that franchise QB personality. Justin Fields gets stopped out the gate on his first 40, he grins wide and says, “You better stop me. I was OUT OF THERE!” Laughs everywhere. (Stumbled on the re-do run for an unofficial 4.5 so let’s see what he clocks on this next one.)
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) March 30, 2021
Trevor Lawrence is locked in at No. 1 with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and all indications are that the New York Jets are taking Zach Wilson out of BYU at No. 2, though they were in attendance in Columbus today.
The Fields/Mac Jones/Trey Lance dance for the next few teams in the NFL Draft will be extremely interesting. The San Francisco 49ers, who just traded up to No. 3, have been connected to all three players.
The Atlanta Falcons, Fields’ hometown team, could go quarterback at No. 4, if they choose to find Matt Ryan’s heir apparent. The Detroit Lions have Jared Goff, but are definitely a potential QB landing spot at No. 7, as are the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos at Nos. 8 and 9. You probably can’t totally count out the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles, who swapped the No. 6 and 12 picks after the 49ers trade, either, even with their recent investments in young QBs.
The 2021 NFL Draft begins on April 29.