Justin Fields Makes the 2021 QB Class even more Exciting
Justin Fields blew up Twitter yesterday when he ran a 4.44, unofficial of course, 40-yard dash. That would make Fields the fastest NFL QB not named Lamar Jackson or Kyler Murray. (Jackson ran a 4.34 at Louisville’s pro day and Kyler Murray didn’t run a 40 in either the Combine or a Pro Day, but was supposedly clocked at 4.38 by Oklahoma in 2017. There is also video of Murray keeping pace with Andy Isabella, who ran a 4.31 at the combine.)
Fields is part of what is a very intriguing draft class, especially for QBs. The obvious cream of the crop is Trevor Lawrence who has been groomed for the number one overall pick since he burst onto the scene with a national Championship in his freshman season.
However, behind Lawrence is where the really interesting stories lie. First there’s Trey Lance, the little FCS engine that could. Lance is looking to turn into an NFL level quarterback very quickly, after only playing 19 college football games. Of course Lance’s tape is drool worthy, but it’s against FCS competition. This leaves a question of whether he’s THAT good, or if his opponents are just THAT bad.
Next is Zach Wilson, the BYU stud who lit up a very strange 2020 after seeing growth in his first two years with the Cougars. He’s already grown a lot and seems to have all the talent necessary. If Wilson is shipped off to New York or Atlanta, will he continue with growth or flatten out when he can’t make the NFL look as easy as BYU’s schedule last season?
Then you have Mac Jones. Who has all the winning he needs on his resume and the stats to boot. However, he also had the best wide receiver in college football, the best offensive line in college football, and the best coaching staff in college football led by one of the most prolific coaches in NCAA history. (Who coincidently has yet to produce a Pro-Bowl level quarterback.) After a head shakingly bad pro day, is he even going to go in the first?
Then we get to Justin Fields who did everything he could to be the second quarterback off the board at his pro day at Ohio State yesterday. Not only dropping jaws with his speed but also an absolute dime to his receiver from 65 yards away. There are questions, as there always are, of Fields’ ability to transition into an effective player at the next level while staying healthy. His game relies a lot on his moving and creating new opportunities by shifting the defense out of position.
Now I will say what we all should say when the durability argument for athletic quarterbacks is brought up, so what? The point here isn’t to evaluate what could happen to him, it’s to evaluate what we’ve seen so far and that is a super athletic and capable quarterback of the football. He could be injured, but he could just as well be the next Lamar Jackson, Cam Newton, or even Robert Griffin III. Transcendent talents that have given us some of the best, most exciting football ever.
With the NFL’s rules on protecting QBs, guys like Fields should last for years to come. Assuming of course that you aren’t having your knees ran to the bone by your coach.