There was a bit of uncertainty in the days, weeks and months leading up to the NFL Draft regarding where former Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields would land, but the Chicago Bears selected him with the No. 11 pick overall. The Bears moved up in the draft and are getting a quality quarterback who is one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft class.
In just eight games in 2020 due to the COVID-19 impacted college football season, Fields completed 70.2% of his passes for 2,100 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. He led the Buckeyes to a 7-1 overall record and reached the national title game where they were outmatched by the Alabama Crimson Tide. He also rushed for 383 yards and five touchdowns, but his game is more dependent on passing, which is why his skill set can definitely translate to the NFL level.
Fields showed incredible toughness in the College Football Playoff in his final season when he battled through an injury and played a fantastic game in the semifinal matchup against the Clemson Tigers. That type of leadership should translate well to the professional game. While his game is not dedicated to running the football, he has the athleticism to scramble and make plays when needed.
An area Fields will need to work on is handling defensive pressure, and that should come with more experience. For various reasons, Ohio State quarterbacks have struggled to put together solid careers in the NFL at the position. Could Fields be the player to break the stereotype? He certainly has all the tools to be a successful NFL player for a long time.
Fantasy football impact
Though Justin Fields could be set to make an immediate fantasy football impact in his rookie season considering his rushing upside, it will come down to whether or not he starts. The Bears signed QB Andy Dalton to a one-year, $10 million contract with up to $3 million in incentives. Dalton has also publicly come out to say that he signed with the understanding that he’ll be the starter for the team. If Fields wins the job (and I would think that he can), he could be an immediate QB1 considering his rushing upside. Whether or not he’ll have an arsenal of weapons remains to be seen.
Fields heading to the Bears isn’t my ideal fit for fantasy football. The Bears dominate on defense and can win outings by controlling the clock and employing a balanced offense. Simply put, I’m not sure that, at this point, he’ll have the passing volume to make a huge impact in fantasy. They’ll need to secure him some receiving weapons, too, to keep him afloat. Right now, Fields is potentially throwing to Allen Robinson (likely playing on the franchise tag), and behind him... not much outside of WRs Anthony Miller and Darnell Mooney alongside TEs Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet.