Hey, San Francisco. Have a Field(s) Day.
If you are anything like me, you watch the talking heads on ESPN walk through their pre-draft work. Picking apart things like an athlete’s vertical, how many times they can lift an absurd amount of weight, even their hand size (yes hand size, you know what they say about QB’s with small hands). You think to yourself isn’t this athlete pretty good? Am I overthinking this? (You aren’t) and wonder how in the world someone like Mac Jones might get drafted ahead of them. Today we are going to take a look into the world of NFL player analysis and why Justin Fields is the guy to take at Number 3.
Remember these? Those bench press reps and the 40 yard dash times. He ran a 4.45 40 yard dash, faster than Jerry Jeudy. Repped 225 23 times on the bench press, add this to a 6’3 228-pound frame, and it’s easy to see why the “smaller Cam Newton” comp given to him by PFF on their annual draft guide is earned. When you grind the tape, he almost comes off as Dak Prescott with another gear. This kind of explosive athleticism is indicative of a career full of highlights, imagine on Sunday watching him use that strong frame to shrug off one or two Seattle Seahawks en route to a 35-yard touchdown to Kittle (Come on 49ers do the right thing).
Plays When It Mattered
I know, I know, he looked rough against Northwestern and in the first half against Indiana. Progressions were slower than you would like, he has a propensity to hold the ball at times. He takes shots occasionally that he will have to limit in the pros as defenders get bigger and faster. However, I feel those dings on his body of work go back to our overthinking it point earlier. Look no further than the Semi-Final game against Clemson and their defense full of NFL players. College kids have rough halves, it happens. In a big game on a big stage, he showed up and reminded everyone who he was, after taking one of the roughest shots we’ve seen in some time. He threw 6 touchdowns completing 77% of his passes for almost 400 yards.
The Kid Can Sling It
Still unsure? See below.
69.9% of his passing yards came on throws beyond the LOS in his career. He has an adjusted completion percentage of 80.8%. Not to mention the 96.5 deep pass grade per PFF. The 9.3 YPA, he isn’t just out here throwing bubble screens. Imagine these traits in a Kyle Shanahan-led offense? NFL coaches will have to respect his ability to run, the play-action, waggles, and bootlegs that have led to quarterbacks like Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins having career years will be on full display. They have a plethora of weapons at his disposal, with Deebo Samuel and George Kittle the team and system are the same that led us to believe Jimmy G was for real just a few shorts years ago.
Trent Dilfer said in December of 2020 on the Ryen Russillo Podcast that after he worked with both Fields and Lawrence that the difference between the two is smaller than most think. He said the tape has shown the opposite of what the media narrative is, he does things people say he can’t getting to the third progression etc. I tend to listen to the guys that have worked with the players vs what Skip Bayless thinks. Justin has the arm, the body, and the intangibles to succeed at the next level. We have seen this before, we will see it again. Refer back here next time the media is having a Field(s) day tearing apart another prospect with a bright future.