2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ohio State QB Justin Fields

HEIGHT: 6-3 / WEIGHT: 228 / COLLEGE: Ohio State / CLASS: Junior

2020 STATS (3 GAMES): 72/83, 86.7%, 908 yards, 10.9 YPA, 11 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 222.4 RATE

CAREER STATS (GAMES): Will update after the 2020 season.

GAMES WATCHED (9):  Nebraska, Penn State, Rutgers, Indiana (2020); Indiana, Clemson, Maryland, FAU, Cincinnati, Rutgers (2019)

40BENCHVERTBROAD3 CONE20S60S

ACCURACY/BALL PLACEMENT (22.5/25)

  • Elite overall accuracy (short, intermediate and deep)
  • Very accurate on the move rolling to either side
  • Precise ball placement — consistently leads receivers to YAC and protects them from big hits
  • Hits tight-window throws consistently
  • Good feel for touch passes
  • Accurate under pressure
  • Able to adjust arm angle to get throws off while maintaining accuracy
  • Placement could be a little better on back-shoulder throws

ARM STRENGTH/VELOCITY (13.5/15)

  • Very good arm strength
  • Can drive the ball into tight windows down the field and from far hash to sideline
  • Can throw 60-plus yards without issue
  • Maintains velocity on the move
  • Has enough arm strength/velocity to compensate for a compromised throwing base in most instances

MENTAL PROCESSING (17/20)

  • Good pre- and post-snap field vision
  • Works through full-field progressions when needed
  • Solid progression rate/processing speed — improved considerably in this area from 2019 to 2020
  • Identifies favorable matchups/coverage vulnerabilities often based on pre-snap look
  • Consistently recognizes blitz and makes necessary adjustment (i.e. throwing hot, changing protection or running out of the pocket)
  • Comfortable changing plays at the line of scrimmage
  • Shows eye discipline/manipulation — holds defenders with eyes and uses pump or shoulder fakes to create open throwing windows
  • Good decision-maker — has a 58:6 career touchdown-to-interception ratio; sees the right things consistently and keeps the ball out of harm’s way
  • Unafraid to take downfield shots and test tight coverage
  • Solid internal clock — will occasionally hold the ball longer than he needs to and take an unnecessary sack but usually knows when to tuck the ball and run or escape the pocket to throw
  • Could throw the ball away a little more to avoid drive-killing sacks
  • Shows some anticipation, especially on throws to the middle of the field, but could show more on throws to out-breaking routes

POCKET PRESENCE (13.5/15)

  • Fairly good pocket mobility and awareness — can be a little late to feel backside pressure at times but normally does it quick enough and climbs, sidesteps or escapes the pocket to keep plays alive
  • Could climb the pocket a little more consistently to help out his offensive line
  • Good poise — fearless in the face of pressure, rarely drops eyes when he sees a free rusher or feels the pocket collapsing around him

THROWING MECHANICS (4/5)

  • Pretty good release quickness
  • Gets the ball out over his shoulder
  • Gets shoulders and hips squared to his target consistently when throwing on the move
  • Great ball security — always keeps two hands on the football as he navigates the pocket or looks to escape
  • Drop footwork is smooth and balanced
  • Improved considerably from 2019 to 2020 but still can be a little slow with his set up in the pocket; delayed process to set and fire can throw off the timing of his throws occasionally
  • Good at re-setting his feet and positioning himself to throw when moved off his spot by the pass rush

MOBILITY/OFF-SCRIPT PLAYMAKING (9.5/10)

  • Very good athlete (est. 4.5 40)
  • Shows good quickness and make-you-miss ability
  • Major threat on designed QB runs
  • Has strength to break tackles and elusiveness to shake free rushers in the pocket
  • Regularly extends plays outside of the pocket when needed

INTANGIBLES (9/10)

  • 1 1/2 year starter
  • Super productive
  • Helped lead Ohio State to the College Football Playoff in 2019
  • Currently boasts a 16-1 record as the starting quarterback for Ohio State
  • High character leader
  • Shows great toughness in the pocket and as a runner
  • Showed great improvement from sophomore to junior year
  • Struggled in limited opportunities vs. top competition (Clemson in 2019 and Indiana in 2020); can he perform in big games and handle adversity?

OVERALL GRADE: 89.00/100.00 — (EARLY) 1ST ROUND — Instant starter; good player with Pro Bowl potential

SCHEME FIT: Scheme-versatile

DRAFT PROJECTION: Top-5 pick

Fields still has some areas for improvement, but he’s got a great foundation to build on and he can start right away. The Ohio State signal-caller has just about every trait you look for in a high-end NFL quarterback: top-shelf accuracy, arm strength, mobility, improvisational skills and intangibles along with vision, poise and pocket presence. He can still improve his processing speed but that should come naturally with more experience. As a rookie, Fields should be at least a decent starter. Within the first few years of his NFL career, he can become an elite, top-5 quarterback.

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