Coach POV’S Corner: Drafting Quarterbacks Is A Crapshoot, But Justin Fields Is Getting A Raw Deal

The NFL Draft will happen on Thursday night, and when the dust settles Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence will be the top overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Following Lawrence will probably be BYU’s Zach Wilson by the “NY Just End The Season” aka Jets.
The question is what makes them head and shoulders the top two picks in the 2021 NFL Draft? 
The hardest thing to do in the NFL is to evaluate and project the quarterback position. One has to wonder how they’ll translate from the college game to the pro game. It’s not all about size, production and talent.
But that still hasn’t stopped scouts and analysts alike from trying to streamline the process, because the QB position is the most important in the game. Landing the right one can change the trajectory of a franchise overnight, just ask the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

To hear the San Francisco 49ers are considering taking Alabama’s Mac Jones or North Dakota State’s Trey Lance over Ohio State’s Justin Fields is just insane to me.

 

Hell, the dumpster fire known as the Jets seem to be fixated with taking Wilson over  Fields, which is downright just as odd. 

But that’s long been the story of the Black quarterback as it pertains to being drafted or keeping his job in the league. They have to be perfect. While their Caucasian counterparts are given every chance to prove themselves, the Black quarterback is given very little time to develop into that franchise leader. This draft is no different as it pertains to the top five signal-callers on the big board.

Trevor Lawrence has been anointed as a can’t miss product since high school, and yes he’s talented but Justin Fields played in the same state (GA) and produced at the same rate in the same high school classification.

 

They were the two top-rated QBs in the class of 2018. But still, all the hype went to Lawrence. Lawrence won a national championship, by leading the loaded Tigers to the title as a freshman, while Fields sat behind Jake Fromm at Georgia. Fields transferred to Ohio State after his freshman season and immediately became the starter.

He put up huge numbers and led the Buckeyes to the CFP, losing to Lawrence and Clemson in a nailbiter. But he outplayed Lawrence in many aspects of the game and even returned the favor this past season as he tossed 6 touchdown passes in an Ohio State 42-21 blowout of “Sunshine”, Dabo and the Tigers.
But still, there are GMs who believe guys like Mac Jones, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance are better. I’ll even give you Lawrence, although I don’t particularly believe he’s better than Fields, but at least he looks the part.
Those other three Quarterbacks do nothing better than Fields.

The only one who faced better competition was Jones, but he was on an absolutely loaded Alabama team that featured a Heisman winner and Doak Walker, winner. 

 

 

Lance and Wilson played against subpar competition and didn’t always look good. Fields looked good every week to me. Even when he didn’t light it up, which was rare, he still played good IMO because the competition was NFL caliber just about every week.

Fields was also coached by an offensive savant in Ryan Day whose passing concepts are NFL-worthy and prepare you for the league.
Can’t say the same about Lance and Wilson. Jones played at BAMA and Steve Sarkisian ran a pro-style offense as well. Lance, Wilson, and Jones need just about everything around them to be correct, while Fields doesn’t. He has the raw ability to improvise and make plays, which is a skill found in every franchise quarterback.
The Niners moved up to No. 3 in the draft and I just don’t understand why they’d move up to draft Lance or Jones, as they could’ve gotten either at their original draft position.
They need to rethink their plan if it’s true because in 2005 they took Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers and that mistake still resonates in the Bay.
If the Niners pass on Fields, the Falcons at No. 4 need to think long and hard about passing him up as well. I know they’re gung-ho on taking the specimen known as Kyle Pitts but they need a signal-caller as well with Matt Ryan on the downside of his career.
Fields is from the Atlanta area and can do all that new head coach Arthur Smith wants from his quarterback.
Finally, in my evaluation of these five QBs, Lawrence, Fields, Wilson, Lance and Jones, the only franchise guys are Lawrence and Fields.
Numbers tell a lot and when I broke them down they were the only two who graded out as franchise guys. The other three graded out as serviceable players but not franchise-changing talents.

Over-and-under drafting a quarterback is the norm and I don’t expect anything different in Cleveland on the shores of Lake Erie over the next three days. What I do know is that whoever passes on Justin Fields will probably suffer the same franchise setback as Chicago did when the Bears front office tried to reinvent the wheel by passing on Deshaun Watson and Magic Mahomes for Mitch Trubisky.