On Tuesday, Justin Fields absolutely tore it up at Ohio State‘s Pro Day. His measurables are impressive, he ran a 4.44 40-yard dash, and most importantly, he threw the ball extremely well, seemingly matching the huge performance from BYU’s Zach Wilson earlier in the process.
Of course, the last month leading into the NFL Draft is maximum silly season for the sport. It would be no surprise if there was maximum disinformation this year, especially with so many teams looking to get their ideal quarterbacks towards the top of the draft. After being seen at the No. 2 to Trevor Lawrence entering the year, Fields may now be the top quarterback recruit drawing the widest range of opinions.
Plenty of people, especially those who saw Fields largely dominate through two college seasons at Ohio State, think it’s crazy to question him as the second-best quarterback in the draft. Others have him fifth behind Wilson, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, and Alabama’s Mac Jones, in some order. One team even has Fields with a fourth round grade, per reports.
Former NFL punter Pat McAfee asked ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky about what he’s hearing around Fields on his daily show this afternoon, and why he may no longer be the universal QB2 in this draft. Orlovsky shared some of the criticisms that he’s heard could be driving Fields’ value down.
Dan Orlovsky on the @PatMcAfeeShow show today had some interesting quotes that he’s getting from guys in the know.
“Last guy in, first guy out.”
“I’ve heard there are some questions with Justin Fields’ work ethic.”
“Where is his desire to be a great quarterback?”
— Seth Steere (@SethSteere) March 31, 2021
That, of course, hasn’t sat with Ohio State fans and others well at all. As The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman points out, Fields was right there with Lawrence in fighting to play the 2020 season, even though his NFL Draft stock was arguably as high as it was going to get ahead of the season.
Justin Fields was one of the loudest advocates for playing a 2020 CFB season, even though he would've 100% been the #2 pick in the draft if it had been canceled
Justin Fields refused to come out of OSU's playoff game when he suffered a vicious hip injury
what are we doing here https://t.co/84BV74iQ1J
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) March 31, 2021
Others have also mentioned the national semifinal game, in which Justin Fields overcame a nasty hip injury to throw for six touchdowns, in what will go down as his signature college performance.
Remember when this happened to Justin Fields then he came back and threw a touchdown two plays later? Would argue that is a desire to be great but what do I know? pic.twitter.com/YYGYDILImf
— Richard🇬🇾Johnson (@RJ_Writes) March 31, 2021
This is insane.
A. This is ridiculous — Fields could have sat out the season if he wanted and still been a first rounder, he pushed to play and play hurt
B. I hate these types of quotes from “guys in the know” https://t.co/B9PtOkOZxi
— Woody Wommack (@RivalsWoody) March 31, 2021
Fields didn't want to be examined during Clemson game after that brutal hit because he thought they might take him out of the game because he was legitimately hurt & was still hurt during Bama game. Not sure how much desire you want. https://t.co/bxQNdHxjxz
— Robert Littal BSO (@BSO) March 31, 2021
Justin Fields was the highest-profile Big Ten player to push for last season to happen, when he could have opted out and been a top-5 pick.
He later played through a brutal injury to beat Clemson.
Spare me on this cliché crap. https://t.co/Pf2IPSI9wE
— Chris Vannini 😷💉 (@ChrisVannini) March 31, 2021
um … wasn't Justin Fields the guy who single-handedly willed the 2020 college football season to even happen?
… not to mention demolished Clemson after taking a rib shot that would've killed most of us?
yeah, gonna go ahead and not believe this https://t.co/FbtasEIWiY
— David Helman (@HelmanDC) March 31, 2021
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) March 31, 2021
Orlovsky has caught plenty of heat for sharing what he says he heard from those around the league, and tried to make clear that they’re not his opinions about the Ohio State star.
1) Check my timeline on what I HAVE SAID ABOUT FIELDS
2) it’s not my opinion on him it’s others and I said those others were people that are tied to decision making
3) I said back in Feb the Big 10 doesn’t have football without JF-says plenty.
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) March 31, 2021
Still, these things come out every year, are often unfair or from sources with an interest in seeing certain players rise and fall, and even if he doesn’t share the opinions, if they’re as questionable as some of these seem, they might not be worth putting into the mainstream like this.