We spent a bulk of the offseason making a baseball analogy when discussing the Chicago Bears’ pursuit of an upgrade at quarterback. Strike one came in the trade market. Then, strike two whizzed past GM Ryan Pace at the outset of free agency. Things weren’t looking too good facing a two-strike count. But the thing about baseball is that it takes three strikes to punch a batter out. And with that in mind, the Bears entered Draft Weekend prepared to take one more mighty swing.
Connecting on a trade-up to get Justin Fields is a home run from a morale perspective. So while time will tell what the end result of the play will be, simply putting bat on ball and putting int in play gives the Bears a fighter’s chance at making something good happen.
With that being said let’s take some time to get to know the quarterback of the future.
THE PICK (ROUND 1, PICK 11)
• Name: Justin Skyler Fields (Age: 22)
• College: Ohio State
• Position: Quarterback
• Measurements: 6-3, 227 pounds, 32.5-inch arms, 9.125-inch arms
STATS TO KNOW
• 2020 stats: 8 games, 158/225 (70.2%), 2,100 yards, 22 TD, 6 INT; 81 carries, 383 yards, 5 TD
• Career stats: 34 games (22 starts), 423/618 (68.4%), 5,701 yards, 67 TD, 9 INT; 260 carries, 1,133 yards, 19 TD
• Position ranking: 4th (ESPN), 3rd (Pro Football Focus), 2nd (The Draft Network), 3rd (Pro Football Network)
THREE STRENGTHS (FROM NFL.COM’s DRAFT PROFILE)
• “Toughness/willingness to do what it takes is always on display.” … You need to be a special brand of tough to play QB in Chicago. Fields showed that toughness for Ohio State last season.
• “Plenty of zip for long, field-side throws.” … Fields’ arm strength will be put to the test against that Hawk Chicago wind. But that he has shown “plenty of zip” on his throws is encouraging.
• “Makes quality reads when deciphering high-low concepts.” … Reading this made my heart grow three sizes.
THREE WEAKNESSES (FROM NFL.COM’S DRAFT PROFILE)
• “Missed open blitz beaters in the middle of the field against Indiana.” … This feels like something that can be fixed with good tape study.
• “Needs to improve eye manipulation as a pro.” … I’m #NotAScout, so I’m unsure how to go about fixing this. But I suppose this is why Matt Nagy, John DeFilippo, and Bill Lazor are gainfully employed by the Bears.
• “Forces receivers to slow for deep throws.” … Few things grind my gears like an under-thrown deep bal. Hopefully, the coaching staff can work on improving this. After all, one of Fields’ listed strengths is “attention to drive mechanics generates velocity when needed.” Ideally, the Bears can tap into Fields’ mechanics to turn this weakness into a strength.
NFL.COM COMPARISON: Dak Prescott
WHERE FIELDS FITS
Andy Dalton is the Bears’ starting quarterback. Well, at least for now. Eventually, Dalton will pass the torch to Fields. Until then, Fields will cut his teeth in a quarterbacks room with veterans at the top of the depth chart, a head coach who helped develop a high-profile first-round pick while sitting behind a seasoned QB1, a position coach who did the same in Philly, and a coordinator who had his hands in getting another first-round quarterback’s career going in Washington.
Fields will get an opportunity to learn the ropes without the pressure of needing to be The Man™ upon arrival. That’s a good thing. There is no need to rush him
EVEN NOT-BEARS PLAYERS HAVE LOVE FOR FIELDS:
Congrats @justnfields a little wait but some teams will be scratching their heads later on.
— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) April 30, 2021
There we go!! Congrats @justnfields
— Jalen Ramsey (@jalenramsey) April 30, 2021