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Justin Fields Declares for 2021 NFL Draft After Leading Ohio State to CFP Final

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2021

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields warms up before an NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game against Alabama Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields announced his intention Monday to forgo his senior season and enter the 2021 NFL draft.

Justin Fields @justnfields

Next Chapter. https://t.co/Q4iWJop4WI

Fields is largely considered the second-best quarterback in the 2021 class, behind Clemson's Trevor Lawrence. He threw for 2,100 yards and 22 touchdowns against six interceptions during the shortened 2020 season, leading the Buckeyes to the CFP national championship game.  

ESPN's Todd McShay has Fields ranked as the No. 9 overall player in the class. He had Fields going No. 15 to the New England Patriots in his latest mock draft. 

Fields has all the makings of a modern prototype at the quarterback position. His best current comp is probably Texans star Deshaun Watson; both are good-sized, excellent athletes with strong, accurate arms. 

Expecting Fields to perform at Watson's superstar level may be a bit unfair. Watson was better than Fields in college at surveying the field and getting past his first read. Some of the same issues that have plagued Dwayne Haskins as a pro (slow reads, pocket feel) may hamper Fields at first, but he's a far superior athlete to Haskins and may be able to atone for those mistakes with his athleticism while he catches up.

An ugly nationally televised performance against Northwestern in the Big Ten title game gave doubters some ammo and further entrenched Lawrence as the QB1 in this draft class. Fields also struggled in the national championship game against Alabama, though that can be written off due to him dealing with an injury in the semifinals against Clemson. 

It's hard to find much justification for bumping him behind BYU's Zach Wilson or North Dakota State's Trey Lance, each of whom have their share of concerns—largely about the level of competition they faced in college. 

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