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Charley Casserly 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Justin Fields Falls Out of Top 20 Picks

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2021

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields passes against Alabama during the first half of an NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

Former NFL general manager Charley Casserly's latest mock draft could come as a surprise to many, including Justin Fields.

The NFL Network analyst has the Ohio State prospect dropping all the way to No. 24 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in his latest mock draft, something even Casserly describes as a "stunning turn of events."

Fields is the fourth quarterback off the board in Casserly's mock behind Trevor Lawrence (No. 1, Jacksonville Jaguars), Zach Wilson (No. 2, New York Jets) and Trey Lance (No. 4, Carolina Panthers via trade). Almost equally surprising is the absence of Alabama's Mac Jones, who is widely regarded as a first-round lock.

While it's unlikely Fields would fall into the 20s, it's not unfathomable. Criticism of the Ohio State product began rising with his poor performance in the Big Ten Championship Game against Northwestern and continued after the Buckeyes' blowout loss to Alabama in the national championship game.

Aside from his six-touchdown obliteration of Clemson in between, Fields' struggles raised questions about his ability to succeed in the NFL.

In particular, some have wondered whether Ohio State's scheme has led to Fields having some habits that won't translate well to the NFL. The Buckeyes scheme their routes heavily and have receivers make reads based on the coverage, leading to Fields locking into his top target rather than going through typical NFL progressions.

It's fair to point out he won't have the same amount of time in the pocket in the pros, which caused Dwayne Haskins Jr. to burn his way out of Washington in less than two seasons. Haskins doesn't have Fields' mobility, so it's not an entirely fair comparison, but it's likely to play into the minds of some teams when they're making evaluations.

It's likely at least one of the five quarterbacks projected in the first round will fall. Jones is the most obvious answer, given his lack of mobility and his only having one year of success.

That said, it's not out of the question that Fields becomes a value pick for some team in April. 

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