2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Justin Fields

June 11, 2020 1:00 PM EST

Justin Fields Scouting Report picture

School: Ohio State

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 223

Eligibility: JR

Uniform: #1

Position: QB

Evaluated by: Nick DeJong
June 22, 2020

Prospect Overview

Justin Fields who was born in Kennesaw (suburban Atlanta), originally began his college career with his home state Georgia Bulldogs. After initially playing limited snaps behind Jake Fromm, Fields chose to transfer to Ohio State University after Dwayne Haskins declared for the 2019 NFL draft.

Justin Fields Scouting Report image 1

Fields exploded onto the scene during his first season with the Buckeyes in 2019, throwing for 3323 yards, 41 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions earning a high completion percentage of over 67%. Fields was able to lead the Buckeyes over Wisconsin winning the Big Ten Championship game throwing 299 yards and three touchdowns in the process. Unfortunately for Fields and Ohio State, they ran into Trevor Lawrence and the juggernaut Clemson Tigers, losing to the Tigers in the CFP National Championship semi finals. With a strong returning supporting cast, Fields could once again find himself face to face with Lawrence in the College National Championship again in the 2020 season, making for an intriguing head-to-head battle of two top 2021 quarterback draft prospects.


Fields displays the strength, balance and athleticism necessary to make throws while on the run. Long gone are the days of a statuesque quarterback with limited movement skills being coveted by NFL teams. The NFL is transitioning to whereby quarterbacks that don't possess mobility are being quickly phased out and Fields has plus movement skills and quick feet. I really like his ability to run the ball as he shows terrific elusiveness for a quarterback of his size. I saw him often beat defenders with any combination of speed, jukes and even brute strength at times.

Justin Fields Scouting Report image 2

He has shown often on film that he does possess above average arm strength and accuracy necessary to succeed at the NFL level as well. I love Fields seemingly ability to play fearless and he doesn't appear to be afraid to be aggressive when throwing into tight windows or double coverage down field. That aggressiveness could lead to trouble against NFL type defenses, but if Fields can harness that aggressiveness and pick his spots a little better it could lead him to plenty of NFL success.

Areas for Improvement

Fields has a tendency at times of locking onto his first wide receiver read and throwing the ball that way regardless if the player is open or not, occasionally missing other open field targets down the field. It's unclear as to whether this was play call design by the Buckeyes offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, or if Fields chose to make that throwing decision on his own. That brings me to my next point which might help Fields correctly diagnose the defense and make the right decision at the line of scrimmage pre-snap. Like most young quarterbacks in the NCAA, Fields struggled at times with diagnosing pre-snap defensive coverages. The ability to make those reads does require some football intelligence but can also improve over time spent in the film room and under center in 2020. I'd like to see him incorporate more of a pump fake or looking off the defender if he is going to continue to target that initial first read to help keep the defense honest to allow for a greater throwing window to his intended receiver.

Justin Fields Scouting Report image 3

Draft Stock

Given that the 2021 draft is expected to be one of the best quarterback groups we have seen in recent years, where Fields exactly places in round one is a bit tricky at this point in May. Had Fields been a part of the 2020 draft he easily would have been part of the conversation along with Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert in determining the second and third quarterbacks selected in this past April draft. Should Fields follow up his monster 2019 season with another outstanding performance in 2020, he will most certainly be part of the Heisman discussion and place him squarely in the sights of quarterback needy teams at the NFL draft. Fields flashes many franchise quarterback traits NFL teams tend to look for when scouting potential quarterbacks, and given the hunger for teams selecting near the top of the draft, I can project that he is likely to be selected in the top ten of this year's NFL draft should he choose to declare.

Justin Fields Scouting Report image 4

Player Comparison

Like Donovan McNabb, Fields is able to extend plays in the pocket and also on the ground by effectively using his feet and legs. He showed often that he is quite elusive and tough to grab a hold off by the oncoming pass rushers. Similar to McNabb, Fields has a propensity for throwing into tight coverage and being very aggressive with the ball downfield. At times that aggressiveness has cost him but more often than not it has paid off for him thus far. I would say that Fields has a pretty strong arm but maybe not quite matching the overall arm strength of Donavan at this point in time. More time in the weight room could improve that area of his game but it is not a weakness in any way that I am concerned about. I do think that he is slightly better at running the ball than McNabb. Overall I see many similarities between the two and any team drafting Justin Fields should be delighted if he has a similar career to that of Donovan McNabb if he is able to reach his full potential.

Games Evaluated

  • vs. Clemson (worst film)
  • vs. Michigan
  • vs. Cincinnati (best film)
  • vs. FAU
  • vs. Maryland
  • vs. Indiana

    Notes from Film

  • Easily slides around the pocket avoiding the rush while keeping his eyes downfield
  • Shows strong elusiveness when running the ball
  • A red zone rushing threat as evidence by his rushing 10 touchdowns in 2019
  • Usually throws from a nice wide and sturdy base
  • Has a tendency to stare down his initial receiver and did so often vs Clemson in the NCAA playoffs in 2019
  • Shows plus arm strength able to push the ball downfield and outside the numbers
  • Is pretty accurate throughout the field of play
  • Willing gambler to throw into tight windows and double coverage
  • At times will throw off his back foot when pressured causing him to lose some velocity and accuracy downfield
  • Quickly looks to run the ball if first read is unavailable
  • Could stand to improve his pre snap defensive zone coverages and read progressions
  • At times prefers to step back in the pocket as opposed to stepping up to avoid the pass rush when throwing
  • Has a nice short and compact throwing motion often with just a flick of a wrist
  • Ball placement above average with front and back shoulder throws and away from the defender
  • Looks comfortable under centre and using play action
  • Has the skills necessary to excel in an RPO system and with bootlegs
  • Shows good toughness as he is willing to take a hit to make the play to his receiver

    Scouting Video Courtesy of JustBombsProductions

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