Justin Fields might be declaring for the NFL Draft, but his status with in the league isn’t as high as some predict.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields officially declared for the 2021 NFL Draft on Monday. It didn’t take long for personnel men — albeit anonymously — to begin weighing in.
According to FanSided insider Matt Lombardo, several scouts believe there is a limited ceiling for the former Buckeye at the next level. And with the talent faced in college, that might not be enough to justify an early selection.
“He’s a bottom-15 starting quarterback in the NFL,” the executive told Lombardo. “He’ll flash top ability, but the key for him will be his consistency as a passer if he is ever to be a top-15 quarterback in this league. He has always had top talent around him. How will he react when he doesn’t?”
Is Justin Fields worthy of a high-end selection?
In his final season with Ohio State, Fields was met with mixed reviews. There were games where it looked as if he would be the hero at the next level. Then again, against better defenses in the Big 10, things went south fast.
Fields finished with 1,906 yards with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions in a six-game season for the Big 10. Against Northwestern and Indiana, two of the better conference’s defenses, he finished with 414 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions.
Against Alabama in the National Championship, Fields finished with 194 yards and a touchdown.
Fields will need to land in the right system for immediate success. What works to Josh Allen won’t work for player with Fields’ background. In a system more balanced in controlling the clock and trusting the run game will work better to his advantage. It also will allow him to work more outside the pocket, trusting his legs as much as his arm.
Clemson superstar Trevor Lawrence is considered the favorite to be selected with the fist pick in this year’s draft. Fields certainly made the case in the Sugar Bowl to be the next man up, completing 78.6 percent of his passes for 385 yards with six touchdowns to one interception.
There’s obviously potential in Fields to be successful, but his tools will need to be in the right place for a winning formula. Time will tell if he’s can achieve greatness at the next level.