2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ohio State QB Justin Fields

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

2020 STATS (8 GAMES): 158/225, 70.2%, 2,100 yards, 9.3 YPA, 22 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 175.6 RATE

CAREER STATS (34 GAMES): 423/618, 68.4%, 5,701 yards, 9.2 YPA, 67 touchdowns, nine interceptions, 178.8 RATE

GAMES WATCHED (14): Every start (2020); Indiana, Clemson, Maryland, FAU, Cincinnati, Rutgers (2019)

40BENCHVERTBROAD3 CONE20S60S

ACCURACY/BALL PLACEMENT (23.75/25)

  • 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 (15/20)

  • Good at pre-snap reads — identifies favorable matchups/coverage vulnerabilities often based on pre-snap look
  • Works through full-field progressions when needed
  • Showed improved ability from sophomore year to junior year in working through progression reads
  • Typically 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
  • Generally a good decision-maker — has a 67:9 career touchdown-to-interception ratio; sees the right things consistently and keeps the ball out of harm’s way more often than not
  • Unafraid to take downfield shots and test tight coverage
  • Internal clock can be a bit slow at times — will occasionally hold the ball longer than he needs to and take an unnecessary sack
  • Can be a little slow to move past his first read
  • Could throw the ball away a little more to avoid drive-killing sacks
  • Will force the issue at times instead of taking sacks or throwing the ball away
  • Shows some anticipation, especially on throws to the middle of the field, but could show more on throws to out-breaking routes

POCKET PRESENCE (11.25/15)

  • Solid pocket mobility — will typically sidestep or climb to avoid pass rush
  • Pocket awareness is hit-or-miss — takes sacks because he holds the ball forever and is late to feel backside pressure
  • Poise — typically fearless in the face of pressure; generally keeps eyes up when he sees a free rusher or feels the pocket collapsing around him

THROWING MECHANICS (4/5)

  • Features a slight wind-up in his delivery, but release quickness is respectable
  • 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 (8.5/10)

  • Impressive athlete (4.4-4.5 speed)
  • Lacks sudden acceleration, but has nice top-end speed and fairly good short-area quickness
  • Shows make-you-miss ability
  • Major threat on designed QB runs
  • Great escapability — has strength to break tackles and elusiveness to shake free rushers in the pocket
  • Can extend plays outside of the pocket to make throws, but does his best off-script work on forced scrambles

INTANGIBLES (9/10)

  • 1 1/2 year starter
  • Super productive
  • Helped lead Ohio State to the College Football Playoff in 2019 and a National Championship appearance in 2020
  • 20-2 career record as the starting quarterback for Ohio State
  • High character leader
  • Shows great toughness in and out of the pocket — played through bad ribs and back injury in playoff semifinal vs Clemson
  • Showed significant improvement from sophomore to junior year

OVERALL GRADE: 85.00/100.00 — 1ST ROUND — Quality starter with Pro Bowl potential

SCHEME FIT: Scheme-versatile, but may fit best in a vertical offense

DRAFT PROJECTION: Top-10 pick

Justin Fields is one of the most physically gifted quarterback prospects I’ve ever seen. While he has some areas for improvement, he’s got a great foundation to build upon and he should be able to start early in his NFL career. 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 solid vision, poise and pocket presence. He can still improve his processing speed and anticipation, but that should come with more game experience and film study. As a rookie, Fields should be a decent starter. Within the first 3-4 years of his NFL career, he could blossom into an elite, top-5 quarterback.

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