• Matt Oehl

The Future: 2021 NFL Draft Prospects Justin Fields

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Throughout the 2019-20 season, Justin Fields was the best dual-threat QB in the nation. He finished the year with 3,273 passing yards, 41 TDs, and 3 interceptions to go along with 484 yards and 10 TDs as a rusher. He showed very good accuracy, decision making, and an ability to extend plays like no other QB in the country. So far through 2 games in the 2020-21 season, he has looked even better.

His accuracy is elite. He can put the ball exactly where it needs to be for only his receiver can make a play on the ball as well as maximize their yards after the catch. He can hit receivers on all levels of the field with elite accuracy, especially on deep throws where he can drop passes in over the shoulder of his receivers. When he is outside the pocket, his accuracy does not decrease, especially when on the run. His ability to throw on the run and accuracy on deep passes reminds me of Russell Wilson.

Fields poise is very good but there is some room for improvement in that sense that he needs to keep his eyes downfield when getting outside the pocket and extending the play. Much like Russell Wilson has learned to rely less on his legs in the NFL Fields needs to do the same. When sticking in the pocket his poise is very good when under pressure, he makes great throws when knowing that he is going to take a hit. As far as playing in big games, Fields' ability to play in big moments is somewhat up in the air. His play in the semifinal game against Clemson where he threw 2 interceptions after throwing only 1 over the entire course of the regular season. He should have another opportunity to play in big games towards the end of this season.

Fields' decision making has done nothing but improve to the point where he is on the brink of being elite. In 2 games in the 2020-21 season, he has simply picked defenses apart by being calm and finding the best matchup pre-snap and adjusting based on what he sees post-snap. Again the one place I think he can improve in his decision making is simply just keeping his eyes downfield more when outside of the pocket. We have started to see glimpses of it so far this year and if can continue this trend he will not have any question marks on his decision making.

His arm strength is very good. He can push the ball down the field with ease as well as fit it into small windows all over the field, especially outside the numbers. Again he does not lose much power with his throws on the run. He does not possess the elite arm strength of a Trevor Lawrence but he is not far behind in this category.

Fields' ability to extend plays is what separates him from the other QB prospects in this class. He can not only make plays with his legs as a runner but he is starting to learn that he can escape that pocket and allow his receivers the extra few seconds to get open. If he can continue on this upward trend of staying behind the line of scrimmage he can have the effect that Aaron Rodgers or Patrick Mahomes have when they can extend plays. This can often lead to big plays downfield as defenses tend to struggle to stay in coverage when receivers go off-script.

Fields is the number 2 QB in this class. With his play so far this year the gap between him and Trevor Lawrence is slowly starting to close. Fields ceiling on the potential player he can become is extremely high as I can see him reaching the levels of Russell Wilson if things can go right for him. The future is very bright for him and this rookie QB class.

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