The evolution of the Black signal-caller has Chicago Bears star QB Justin Fields believing franchises will continue to look to draft that dual-threat guy who can throw it and make plays with his legs.
The supporting proof is on full display as Sunday’s two Super Bowl starters, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, are known for their versatility.
Fields is a developing dual-threat weapon who also made some great strides in his second season. In an interview with Complex Sports, the former Ohio State star was pretty open with what he sees the league turning to more and more.
“I think the game is just changing to be honest with you. Unless you have a crazy offensive line where you can just sit back there and chill in the pocket, you’re going to have to be mobile. So I think you’re going to find more African-American quarterbacks who can extend plays. The game is just changing, when you step on the field and 260, 270-pound dudes running 4.6s that’s tough for an offensive line to hold up every play. As a quarterback, you’re going to have to use your legs and extend plays. Having that aspect of your game, it’s very important in today’s game.”
African American quarterbacks have moved to the forefront of the NFL, and Justin Fields sees that trend continuing.
We talked to the Chicago Bears quarterback about his growth in year two, the Bears future outlook, and much more!
FULL INTERVIEW: https://t.co/WvOYLZDJTb pic.twitter.com/3TFIpXafj1
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) February 2, 2023
Fields is part of that new era of dynamic playmakers at the position, and he sees what the rest of the league is beginning to see. The Black quarterback is now a most sought-after commodity.
Teams Are Catering Offenses To These Skill Sets
In 2022, Fields himself played on a rebuilding Chicago Bears team that finished with the worst record in the league. The style of offense implemented by head coach Matt Eberflus and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy flashed some real potential. The scheme resembled the one Fields ran at Ohio State. Designed runs and letting him use his big arm to push the football downfield. But it was Fields’ innate ability to create plays out of nothing that was the cherry on top. In all Fields finished with 1,143 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.
He averaged nearly 77 yards per game, coming just 63 yards shy of Ravens dynamic QB Lamar Jackson’s single-season QB rushing set during his 2019 unanimous MVP season. Fields also passed for over 2,200 yards and 17 touchdowns on a Bears team devoid of talent on the offensive side of the football.
Now Justin Fields turn. Your friendly annual reminder to ignore NFL scouts/media on assessing the work ethic, character and adaptive abilities of Black QBs entering NFL draft. pic.twitter.com/eKUts7PMru
— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) March 31, 2021
As for Hurts and Mahomes, they finished fourth and ninth in the league in QB rush yards, a credit to their dual-threat abilities that make life extremely difficult for defenses. Both play in systems that accentuate their strengths, and that’s a huge reason why they’re taking the field Sunday night in Glendale, Arizona.
Mahomes and Hurts are the top two finalists for league MVP as well, with Mahomes expected to take his second award home. That’s huge progress when the top two MVP candidates are Black dual-threat QBs.
Is This The End Of The Drop-Back QB?
For years it was always about finding what the league deemed the prototypical QB. Ideal measurements were between 6 feet 2 and 6 feet 3, 225-230 pounds and a big arm, able to process information quickly and capable of making all the throws. And while Blacks have proved they could do it, it was like pulling teeth for them to get an opportunity at the pro level. Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Moon, the greatest Black quarterback the game has ever seen, did it, but he never got the respect he deserved.
There’s Steve McNair and Cam Newton, who became the first two Black QBs to win an MVP. Newton even took the word dual-threat to another level by becoming the all-time rushing touchdown leader for QBs with 75. He has a 4,000-yard passing season under his belt as well.
.@ShannonSharpe agrees with Justin Fields saying Black QBs are getting more respect in the NFL: ‘The game is just changing:’
"The things that they used to criticize Black QBs are now an asset.” pic.twitter.com/GT5QsDYWKP
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) February 3, 2023
Now the likes of Mahomes, Hurts, Fields, Jackson and Deshaun Watson are all doing it at a high level. Then you have guys such as Arizona Cardinals diminutive dynamo Kyler Murray and Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, who leads the richest franchise in sports.
With Heisman winner Bryce Young and CJ Stroud expected to be the first two quarterbacks selected in April’s draft, the league could have as many as ten Black starters on opening day 2023. That’s the most since 2020, when 10 Black quarterbacks started on opening weekend for the first time in NFL history.
Just WOW, the evolution of the Black QB is here to stay.