QB Justin Fields, Ohio St.

QB Justin Fields, Ohio St.* (6’3”, 228)

Background:

Five-star recruit who originally committed to Penn St. but ended up attending Georgia, where he backed up Jake Fromm in 2018, totaling nearly six hundred yards before transferring to Ohio St. Earned a waiver granting him immediate eligibility for Ohio St. after filing a lawsuit against the NCAA. Took over as the Buckeyes’ starter and went 13-1 in his first season, taking the team to the semifinals after passing for 3,273 yards (67.2%, 9.2 YPA), 41 touchdowns, and three interceptions and rushing 137 times for 484 yards and 10 scores. Followed that up by going 7-1 the following year, taking the team to the National Championship, and passing for 2,100 yards (70.2%, 9.3 YPA), 22 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions, while posting a rushing line of 81-383-5 (4.7).

Positives:

Highly productive, winning quarterback over two years as a starter. Well-built player with solid height for the position, assuming his listed height matches his measurements during the pre-draft process. Has some experience taking snaps from under center. Very athletic player with a pass-first mentality. Gets the ball out quickly when his primary option is open. Nice over-the-top delivery, and can drop his arm angle at times. Has very solid arm talent; capable of making all the throws, pushing the ball down the field with good velocity and a tight spiral. Gets good velocity even when throwing off of his back foot. Overall ball placement is good, throwing a catchable ball. Shows the ability to manipulate safeties with his eyes. Powerful build and athleticism allow him to escape pressure and extend the play. Nice pirouette to escape pressure. Can capitalize on opportunities to scramble up the middle for first downs. Keeps his eyes downfield when fleeing the pocket. Often makes something out of nothing when his protection breaks down.

Negatives:

Production consisted of a lot of easy throws to open primary targets; will have to make a pretty big adjustment to the pro level. Has a tendency to bird-dog targets, many of his throws having been to primary reads. When his primary read is covered, struggles to get the ball out on time. Tends to have a checkdown but rarely scans from right to left or vice versa. Can rely too much on his arm at times, not transferring his weight and occasionally throwing with his body open. Gets a lot of passes batted at the line. Sometimes doesn’t know when to give up on a play.

Summary:

A quarterback with impressive toughness, arm talent, and accuracy, and who has the mobility to escape from pressure and convert the occasional first down. However, the team who drafts him will have to use their imagination, because a lot of the time he was executing an offense which was based around predetermined reads and kept things relatively simple for the quarterback. More mobile and with more accuracy on his deep ball than former Buckeye and first-round pick Dwayne Haskins, he will likely come off the board within the top ten picks or so, but sometimes it feels like he’s just executing a well-designed offense.

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