A year ago, Justin Fields was seen as the 1B to Trevor Lawrence’s 1A among 2021 NFL Draft quarterback prospects. Fast forward to last night’s first round, and he was the fourth player at the position off the board, going No. 11 to the Chicago Bears.
There’s certainly no shame in going in the first third of the first round. The Bears also traded up to get him, making it known that they see him as an elite prospect at the most important position in sports.
Of course, it probably stings Fields a bit. All he did this year was lead Ohio State to the national championship game, and absolutely obliterated Lawrence’s Clemson Tigers in the process, in one of the most impressive performances of the 2020 college football season. And even so, he was passed by two quarterbacks that essentially rode single big seasons to their picks, New York Jets No. 2 pick Zach Wilson, and San Francisco 49ers’ No. 3 pick Trey Lance.
It isn’t the first time Fields has been passed up. As a freshman at Georgia, Kirby Smart opted to play veteran Jake Fromm over him, a decision that looked pretty horrific as Fromm leveled out, and Fields exploded as a second-year player after his transfer to Ohio State. He made a pretty clear reference to that move, in addressing the teams that passed on him last night.
Ohio State’s Justin Fields on waiting to be taken at No. 11: “I’ve gone through situations where I haven’t been chosen. I think the world has seen the outcome of that.”
— Nathan Baird (@nwbaird) April 30, 2021
At the same time, he’s excited to be in Chicago, with a team that clearly wanted him badly. “They’re going to get a hard worker, a guy that’s going to put himself out there to win every game. A leader on and off the field,” Justin Fields said on Thursday night. “So I’m just excited and ready to go to work.”
The Bears hope he’s the solution to quarterback issues that have plagued the franchise for years now. Nothing is guaranteed with the transition from college football to the NFL, but anyone who watched him at Ohio State probably thinks the Bears just got a total steal, even with the big move up.
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