2021 NFL Draft: Ohio State QB Justin Fields scouting report

2021 NFL Draft prospect, Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
2021 NFL Draft prospect, Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

2021 NFL Draft: Scouting report for Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.

As a true freshman for the Georgia Bulldogs, Justin Fields’ only source of playing time was in blowout victories. With Jake Fromm holding down the starting position, Fields knew his best shot at playing time was to transfer. And so, Fields decided to head to Columbus to play for Ryan Day and the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Fields arrived in the spring of 2019 and immediately went to work. He beat out former 4-star QB Tate Martell for the starting job and had a terrific season. He helped lead the Buckeyes to a 13-1 record before falling to the Clemson Tigers in the Fiesta Bowl.

Fields threw for 3,273 yards and 41 touchdowns. He was also able to make smart decisions with the football and limit his turnovers by only throwing just three interceptions, and losing 5 fumbles. The dual-threat QB was also able to add 484 yards on the ground to go along with 10 touchdowns.

The former 5-star recruit stands 6’3″, 223 pounds. He can add a little more weight, but Fields definitely meets the criteria that scouts look for at the quarterback position. For comparison, scouts tend to admire quarterbacks who are at least 6’2″. However, in recent years teams have looked past a quarterback’s height to pick them. Just look at Kyler Murray who went number one overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Murray was only 5’10”, and weighed only 207 pounds.

Fields not only has the size to be successful in the NFL, but he also has the arm strength and accuracy to move the ball down the field. Fields was able to connect on 67 percent of his throws last season. He tends to load up his arm and use his velocity to fit the ball into tight windows.

Even though Ohio State runs a spread offense, which mainly focuses on short and intermediate throws, Fields was able to showcase his arm strength and accuracy as a downfield passer also.  According to PFF, Fields average target was 12.6 yards downfield, which is the highest among the returning power 5 quarterbacks. If you need anymore an idea of what that looks like, look no further than this beautiful throw.

Though his game as a thrower shows no weakness, there are still many areas that Fields can improve on. For example, Fields mainly operated out of the shotgun. Although many teams are starting to use the shotgun formation more and more, many general managers like to see how quarterbacks operate out of the single back formation under center. Fields will need to work on his footwork out of that position. But, this is something quarterback prospects focus on after the season and leading up to the combine.

Another issue that I noticed is that Fields often times would try to run away from pressure, and try to make something out of nothing. Many times this would lead to a sack. Fields needs to improve on his awareness and be able to know when to throw the ball away and not take negative yardage.

Player Comparison: Dak Prescott-Russell Wilson Hybrid

Both Prescott and Wilson are both mobile quarterbacks who can not only extend plays and throw on the run, but also keep defenses on their feet and scramble for positive yards when needed.

Both quarterbacks in college were very good in the option and QB-run game. Fields has a similar build to Prescott, who is 6’2″ 238 pounds, and he has the baseball-like arm strength and mechanics that mimic Russell Wilson. So, a hybrid of the two makes sense to me.

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Fields will look to start his potential Heisman campaign this year for Ohio State. He will also be looking to be the second Ohio State quarterback drafted in the first round in as many as three years, behind his predecessor Dwayne Haskins.