A starter for just two years at Ohio State, Justin Fields has shown more than enough on the field to all but guarantee he'll be an early pick in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. A Heisman Trophy finalist in 2019, Fields produced 78 total touchdowns in 22 games over the past two seasons, including six TD passes in the Buckeyes' rout of Clemson in the most recent College Football Playoff. Fields may not be the top quarterback in this class, but whichever team takes him in the first round is doing so with the intent of finding their next franchise signal-caller.
Here's a look at why Fields is expected to go within the first 10 picks of this year's draft.
(This profile is one of 230 featured in the Athlon Sports 2021 NFL Draft Guide. With in-depth scouting reports on the top prospects, position rankings, and more, no source will have you better prepared for draft day. Click here to get your copy.)
Justin Fields Draft Profile
College: Ohio State
The physical traits are all there for Fields — he has pure arm talent, requisite height with a sturdy build and outstanding athleticism. He’s willing to operate from the pocket and made strides when it came to working away from bad reads and getting through progressions. While he’s a dangerous threat with his legs, he consistently keeps his eyes upfield with the ball in throwing position when extending plays. He shows a knack for mapping the moving bodies in front of him on second reaction plays, and he has the kind of arm talent to make strong, accurate throws even when his feet aren’t under him, making him especially dangerous late in the down. His ball placement is consistently solid when working underneath and intermediate targets. He’s a natural as a ball carrier, showing great feel when following blocks, with the contact balance to make defenders miss and the speed to break off long runs. His build should allow him to absorb contact and stay durable at the next level.
Fields is still coming along as far as his tempo getting through progressions — he too often slows down in the face of a blitz. He also needs work on some of the subtleties of the position, such as moving safeties with his eyes. It would also be nice if he were willing to test tighter windows within the design of plays — he leaves some throws on the field in the name of protecting the ball.
His pure talent gives him a high floor, and it’s easy to see the star potential as he continues to evolve as a passer, becoming faster as a processor and more confident testing windows.
Final Grade: Top-10 pick