Ohio State’s Justin Fields is expected to be the second or third quarterback taken in the 2021 NFL Draft, but ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay aren’t so sure he should even turn pro.
Fields is coming off a so-so performance (17-of-33 passing, 194 yards, one touchdown) in the national title game against Alabama. The game before that, he was brilliant against Clemson, throwing for 385 yards and six scores.
Fields’ physical gifts are apparent, but on the latest edition of the ESPN “First Draft” podcast, Kiper and McShay both argued that another year in college might be beneficial to the junior star.
“I think going back to Ohio State for another year, as opposed to coming into the National Football League without the momentum from having a great season like he did two years ago, (he can) right things,” Kiper said. “He can work on things fundamentally. Ohio State’s got a ton of talent coming in every year. They’re always reloading, they’re not rebuilding there. Ryan Day will have plenty of talent. I think it’s worth a minute or two discussion as to whether Justin Fields would be better off going back to Ohio State for the 2021 season.”
Kiper mentioned working on fundamentals, and McShay said Fields could use the extra seasoning to improve his understanding of defensive coverages and going through progressions in the pocket.
“You want to have success in the league. I think Mel’s right,” McShay said. “You don’t think (a return to college) is going to happen but I think Mel is exactly right. … He’s not there yet. If you study film and you know what you’re talking about and you know how to identify what quarterbacks are looking for and you know defensive coverages and you know how to get off your primary to secondary to third target, you can see that he’s not there yet.
“Ryan Day is so good at protecting him and putting him in good spots that it doesn’t show up a whole lot.”
While we respect Kiper and McShay’s opinions, let’s just say we don’t expect Fields back in scarlet and gray in 2021.
He could return to try and win a national title and be the No. 1 overall pick, but considering Fields’ stock is already high and he suffered an injury in the College Football Playoff, we expect him to strike while the iron is hot.
If he did come back though, it would send shockwaves through the entire college football world.
[ 247Sports ]