Trevor Lawrence looks unusually secure as a No. 1 overall pick – a Manning-Luck-Elway kind of guy. But as well as Justin Fields played for Ohio State on Saturday, I wonder if it won’t be long before at least some scouts think he should be the first player chosen in the draft next spring.
Fields was unusually good against Nebraska, completing 20 of 21 passes for 276 yards. His only incompletion was actually one of his better throws – it was a long touchdown until the receiver coughed it up after being turned into a baton in the end zone. (In fairness, I think there were 2 other incompletions that were nullified by penalties.)
But Fields looks very good. He connected on a lot of big, downfield throws in this game, showing the touch, vision and accuracy that you’re looking for.
If you go to YouTube, you can review all of Fields’ plays from Saturday’s games.
At Ohio State, of course, he’s surrounded by a bunch of elite talent. Dwayne Haskins, recall, had a season with 50 touchdowns in that offense. But if you watch Fields and toggle back to 2018 and watch Haskins, I don’t think they’re similar quarterbacks in any way. With Haskins, his production was puffed up by a lot of jet sweeps and easy catch-and-throw balls at the line of scrimmage. With Fields, there are a lot more throws with a higher degree of difficulty.
The one flaw/worry in this game, I thought, was the number of times Fields exposed himself to unnecessary hits while trying to extend plays. I didn’t count them up, but it seemed like he took about 5 sacks, along with some big hits. You would prefer to see him doing a better job of staying out of harm’s way.
But he looks very good. It’s early, but right now I would be very surprised if Fields isn’t one of the top 2 picks in next year’s draft.
A few years back, Ohio State had Joe Burrow, but he transferred to LSU and became a No. 1 overall pick. Fields looks like he's going to be the opposite; he started out at a SEC school (Georgia) before coming to the Buckeyes, and he's also going to be a high pick.