Team: Ohio State Buckeyes
Height/Weight: 6’3″ and 223 lbs
The purpose of this series is to provide a ceiling and a floor for devy prospects. We also provide an example of a player in which the prospect could reach their level of production. This is not a player comparison in regards to style of play, but more so used for what we think the high or low end of production could be for fantasy purposes.
Fields has been blessed with supreme athleticism and ability to extend plays on the football field. His feet are electric, and the game is changing in the NFL that requires more mobility from your QB to sustain drives and utilize creative play-calling to fool your opponents. Fields can hit his deep throws and is lethally accurate with his short passes and screens, and if surrounded by play makers in the NFL, he should be able to translate seamlessly. Comparing his upside production to a QB who won rookie-of-the-year, has a SB title, and 7 Pro Bowls by the age of 31 seems unfair, but in the right system, I do not think it is a far-fetched as it sounds. Remember, this is his ceiling and not a hot take. Prior to the CFP, Fields was responsible for 50 TDs in 2019 and had 1 interception. That is simply remarkable, and I love his upside and size that he pairs beautifully with his feet. In SF formats, I am moving up to get him in round 2 (start-up devy).
Upside Projection: Russell Wilson
Ohio State has been a powerhouse for decades, but the recent QB prospects to come out of their program have widely underwhelmed. Names like Braxton Miller, Troy Smith, and Terrelle Pryor immediately come to mind and admittedly make me pause. I know it may be foolish to judge a player based on school history, but it has an impact on my subconscious mind. After watching as much tape as I could, he does not present as a prospect with glaring flaws. He has not needed to cycle through several progressions as his primary or secondary option is usually open or has dump-off pass available due to the talent differential OSU had over most teams they faced in 2019. According to a good friend who studies OSU football, Fields “sailed several throws throughout the year and under threw several others suggesting there are a few kinks in his throwing motion”. He also suggested that he needs to speed up his internal clock in the pocket and I noticed that as well. He did miss multiple opportunities at a run or dump-off due to his indecisiveness, but he is still a sophomore. He does not have elite arm strength, but it certainly appears above average and he generates enough velocity. He may require a team to build an offense around him as opposed to stepping into any NFL scheme and adapting to it. If he can land with a team such as Lamar Jackson did with Baltimore that changes their identity to fit the player, he will be immensely successful, but in the wrong situation, he could disappoint.
Floor Projection: Marcus Mariota
Justin Fields has seen his 2021 draft stock rise exponentially since the start of this season and should be a top two pick. Trevor Lawrence will likely go 1.01, but whichever NFL team lands the 1.02 should be ready to pounce and make the necessary adjustments to put this kid in a situation to succeed. Fields is the new age NFL QB who can punish you on the ground, and has enough arm talent to force teams not to load the box. For SF leagues, he will be a top 3-4 pick. In devy leagues, he should be rostered in all but the shallowest of 1 QB formats and in start-up SF devy drafts, is likely a round 2 pick behind Burrow, Lawrence, and Tua.