With the upcoming NFL Draft less than two weeks away there seem to be two guarantees. Trevor Lawrence will be the number one pick, which has been expected since he dominated Alabama in the National Championship three years ago as a true freshman. Then Zach Wilson will be drafted by the New York Jets with the second overall pick.
This means that the draft officially starts at the third pick with the San Francisco 49ers. There seems to be a huge debate leading up to the draft for who should be the pick, but I think the answer is very simple and obvious. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.
When the 49ers made the trade from 12 all the way up to the third overall pick from the Dolphins people began to think that Mac Jones would be the pick because he fits head coach Kyle Shanahan’s system the best. Jones also compares well to former Shanahan coached quarterbacks who have had success in his system like Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins.
These are all great comparisons, but I think there is one quarterback who had success in Shanahan’s offense whose game compares very well to Fields. Former Washington R-words quarterback Robert Griffin III. RG3 had the best year of his career with Shanahan as his offensive coordinator and looked like a future All-Pro before injuries derailed his career.
Fields would be able to bring a whole new level to Shanahan’s offense. In my opinion Fields has the strongest arm and is also the most athletic of all the quarterbacks in the draft. With these two important attributes on top of not losing a game in the Big Ten as a starter there have been some concerns and negative reports about Fields.
The most notable comment about Fields was made by former NFL player and current ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky on The Pat McAfee Show. When asked why the Ohio State quarterback was sliding down draft boards Orlovsky responded by saying “I have heard that he is a last-guy-in, first-guy-out type of quarterback… And I’ve heard that there are issues with Justin Fields’ work ethic. The second thing is where is his desire to go be a great quarterback? I think that there’s a desire to be a big-time athlete, from what is expressed to me, but where is his desire to be a great quarterback? And to be great, you gotta be willing to find the things that you are not good at and just freaking grind on them.”
The next day Orlovsky seemed to backpedal on these comments after speaking to coaches and other people close to Fields or the Ohio State football program who all denied what Orlovsky said. Stating that Fields’ work ethic is not an issue at all. So if it’s not an issue with his work ethic, then what is the problem? Do we have too much PTSD from how awful former Ohio State quarterback performed as an NFL quarterback? Was it the amount of elite talent that Fields had around him at Ohio State?
The answer is simple, over evaluating and over thinking on Fields as a prospect. It seems that instead of discussing the positives when it comes to Fields, people are just looking for any negative they can find. This is all coming from a Michigan fan so that should say a lot.
This reminds me of when Deshaun Watson was coming out of Clemson .Highlighting the negatives and disregarding the positives. In the end Watson dropped out of the top ten and became one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Making the Texans organization look like geniuses, which is something no one would say about the dysfunctional organization today.
In the end it’s all on Shanahan and who he wants to bet all his chips on as his guy. As an outsider this is how I see what could happen. Shanahan could make himself look like a genius or let Fields fall to another team and make them look like geniuses. The choice is yours Mr. Shanahan.