In any other year, teams would be tripping over each other for the right to draft Justin Fields. The Buckeyes QB has an exciting dual-threat skillset that is all the rage right now in the NFL after Lamar Jackson's raging success as the prototypical signal-caller in that regard. It helps he plays for a blue-chip program like Ohio State, sure, but Fields looked excellent in his first season as a starter, indicating there's even more to be unlocked.
But, unfortunately for Fields, he happens to be a member of the same draft class as one Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence has been destined for No. 1 overall pick fame since he took the field as a true freshman at Clemson. He has everything professional teams are looking for in a quarterback prospect: a stellar arm, great decision-making and pocket presence, leadership qualities, the whole nine yards.
Nothing about this college football season will change that. Maybe, in a different universe where a global pandemic isn't taking all of our attention and the Big Ten plays a full season, Fields could cover some ground in the race for the most prized QB prospect of the 2021 draft. It was always going to be a longshot, though, since Lawrence has an extra year of being a starter (and therefore an extra year of hype). Now that Fields is faced with a shortened season, it'll be impossible to make up that ground. But it sure will be fun to watch him try.
Fields said on College GameDay this morning that he feels he can be the best quarterback in the country. He'll have a few months to prove that, but got off to a good start in his first game of the season against Nebraska today. The Buckeyes won by the score of 52-17. Fields completed 20 of his 21 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns. He added another 15 carries on the ground for 54 yards and a touchdown. All in all, Fields accounted for 330 yards of offense and three touchdowns on his own.
That's a pretty damn good way to start off this strange season. Beating down Nebraska will not impress many people, but Fields is past the production side of things. Only a significant drop in his stats would affect his draft position. Now, it's about proving to all the scouts watching that his other qualities are worth a high draft spot. Things like pocket presence and throwing mechanics and progressing through reads. He did a good job with all that in his first game in, oh, nine or so months.
Fields may not be able to supersede Lawrence as the presumptive top pick in the upcoming draft, but he can ensure he's the next man up. He's an exciting player and it should be fun to watch him try and prove everyone wrong for however long this college football season lasts.