Dan Orlovsky: Justin Fields' Work Ethic Questioned by Some in NFL Before Draft

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2021

Quarterback Justin Fields throws as part of a drill during an NFL Pro Day at Ohio State University, Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
Paul Vernon/Associated Press

Ohio State star Justin Fields has reportedly seen his stock slip due to questions about his work ethic.

ESPN's Dan Orlovsky discussed the issues Wednesday on The Pat McAfee Show:

Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow

I've been very befuddled about how Justin Fields has gone from being an ABSOLUTE stud to his draft stock dropping Numerous media people are being told by numerous decision-makers that they aren't sold on his passion, could all be bullshit though #PatMcAfeeShowLIVE https://t.co/mYFnrMm8XZ

Seth Steere @SethSteere

Dan Orlovsky on the @PatMcAfeeShow show today had some interesting quotes that he’s getting from guys in the know. “Last guy in, first guy out.” “I’ve heard there are some questions with Justin Fields’ work ethic.” “Where is his desire to be a great quarterback?”

As Bucky Brooks of NFL Network noted, these types of critiques have historically and disproportionally come against Black quarterbacks:

Bucky Brooks @BuckyBrooks

These media narratives created from anonymous sources impact the perception of Black QBs. Fair or not, these labels stick & impact how fan bases view QB prospects beyond the pre-draft process. It’s all good to offer critiques but it would be nice to see non-stereotypical analysis

Jim Trotter of NFL.com also argued race plays a factor when evaluating top quarterbacks in the draft in a 2020 essay, with longtime Colts executive Bill Polian's pre-draft criticism of Lamar Jackson serving as one of the most stark examples in recent years. 

The on-field talent with Fields is obvious after he threw 63 touchdown passes and just nine interceptions over his last two years with Ohio State, also adding 15 rushing scores in this time. He showcased his athleticism at his pro day Tuesday by running the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds.

Meanwhile, any potential doubt about his toughness and character was seemingly answered during the College Football Playoff when he suffered a brutal rib injury but remained in the game to defeat Clemson.

"He's very, very competitive," Ohio State coach Ryan Day said of Fields, per Adam Rittenberg of ESPN. "So when you combine the talent, the size, the arm strength, his competitiveness, his toughness, his intelligence, it kind of checks all the boxes. If you were trying to design a quarterback, to me, Justin fits that prototype."

"Everything you invest in that kid, you're going to get back," Day added.

In eight games during the 2020 season, Fields completed 70.2 percent of his passes for 2,100 yards and 22 touchdowns while racking up 383 yards and five additional scores on the ground. 


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