Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields has been one of the most debated quarterbacks in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. Once seen as a sure-fire No. 2 overall pick behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Fields’ draft stock is in question now with other quarterbacks such as BYU’s Zach Wilson, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Alabama’s Mac Jones.
During Thursday night’s Move the Sticks special on NFL Network with Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day compared Fields to last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Joe Burrow.
“One thing about Justin in the meeting room is you don’t have to tell him something twice,” Day said. “He really picks things up quickly and his recall is very similar to Joe Burrow — when I was here with Joe — he just understands things and then can take it to the field very quickly. I think that’s a trait that not a lot of people have. And I think the one thing, too, that he does a good job of is he can visualize a play if you put it up on the screen and then talk about, ‘Well, what if they do this? What if they do that?’ And he’s already thinking about the different covers that may show up.”
Last season, Fields completed 70.2% of his passes for 2,100 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also led the Buckeyes to the College Football Championship after beating Clemson in the CFP semi-final.
Brooks responded to Day’s comparison of Fields to Burrow, saying that the Ohio State signal-caller definitely has what it takes to be a franchise quarterback.
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“It is huge because it gives you an apt comparison, because a lot of why we celebrated Joe Burrow was about his ability to understand and diagnose and process things at the line of scrimmage or process things above the snap,” Brooks said. “I would say, with Justin Fields, there have been some questions about that ability to kind of see things, to deal with changing coverage. Also, when it comes to the preparation part of it — I think Justin Fields even admitted, prior to the Clemson game, ‘This is the most that I’ve prepared for,’ in terms of the film room and those things. And so, as he gets into the National Football League and understands the responsibilities of a franchise quarterback — in terms of knowing, on the field — I think he will step up to the standard. But he certainly has the traits and qualities to be a solid — even a great — player. It’s just understanding how to diagnose and do those things, real time, when it comes to the process and speed.”