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Column: Justin Fields is the best QB in the 2021 draft

Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, Trey Lance, and — dare I say — Trevor Lawrence should all be taken after Fields tonight.

CFP Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

One of my favorite days of the year is finally here. NFL Draft Day! It’s also a very exciting day for Buckeye fans, especially this year as we hope to see where our beloved signal-caller, Justin Fields will end up. In ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock draft, he has Fields falling all the way down to the New England Patriots at No. 15. Kiper isn’t the only analyst to think this scenario will happen- many others agree. However, in my important, informed, and completely unbiased opinion, this is complete bologna.

This kind of stuff happens every year around draft time — analysts watch hours upon hours of film, and suddenly decide that a kid who has only played one season at North Dakota State is better than a quarterback that took his team to the College Football Playoff in consecutive years.

For the life of me, I just can’t understand their thought processes. It’s like they forgot everything that Fields did during the abbreviated 2020 season — including scoring six touchdowns against Clemson, even after suffering a devastating hit by James Skalski.

So, I’m going to look at the numbers to mathematically, scientifically, and unequivocally prove why Fields is better a better QB than Trey Lance, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, and possibly even Trevor Lawrence, or any other quarterback that these draft “experts” think should be selected above the Buckeye.

Fields’ stats are impressive in any season, much less a shortened one due to the Big Ten’s bumbled COVID response. Fields had a 73.4% completion rate and 21 touchdowns in seven games; tack on 274 rushing yards and 5 TDs on the ground and you’ve got yourself a dual-threat, mobile QB, which obviously fits into the style of quarterback currently dominating the NFL.

Now, I must admit, Zach Wilson did put up some gaudy numbers of his own — 3,267 passing yards, 73.2% completion rate, and 30 touchdowns. BUT, everyone seems to forget that he played for BYU, and despite their best efforts, they didn’t exactly face off against the strongest opponents in 2020.

In fact, Wilson is 0-and-5 in his college career against teams with 10 or more wins. Now, I must give credit where credit is due — Wilson is a highly talented QB, but can you imagine the numbers that Fields would have put up against the schedule that BYU played last fall?

Next up, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. The argument that he should be drafted higher than Fields makes me so angry. He has literally played one full college season and one game at an FCS school. That one bonus game was the only one in the 2020-21 season and was against Eastern Washington; Lance put up a total of 149 yards with 2 TDs and an INT. He’s obviously talented and very athletic, and could be great, who knows? But you can’t convince me that there’s enough there to trust him as a team’s early first-round pick. Not to mention, he really hasn’t played football in a year, which is reason enough to concern me even if the rest of his resume was as good as Fields’ (which it’s not). But, that’s just me.

Lastly, Mac Jones. Yes, he did have an incredible season and was a Heisman finalist. But you do know who his wide No. 1 receiver was, right? The Heisman Trophy winner, Devonta Smith. Oh yeah, and Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris finished fifth in the voting.

Did I mention that the Tide’s offensive line also won the Joe Moore Award, which is given annually to the nation’s best offensive line? What I’m trying to say here is that Jones had a LOT of help on offense to make him look that good. I’m curious to see how he does if he gets drafted highly to a team that doesn’t have the type of high-quality weapons or line that Jones enjoyed at ‘Bama. If he ends up in the right system, perhaps he becomes a great pro quarterback as well. But I’m going to bet on the far more athletic, diversely talented guy who fits the way modern NFL offenses are run.

So far, we’ve looked at three of the quarterbacks that analysts insist should be taken above Fields. to me, it’s pretty obvious that the former Buckeye captain is better than all three of them, but dare I say that he might just be better than the anointed one, Trevor Lawrence?

I want to start off by saying how great of a college player Lawrence was — probably one of the greatest college QBs ever. But, when you compare his resume to Fields’, they are nearly identical. They are within two total career TDs of each other, just 1.7% in completion percentage apart, 0.01 in yards per attempt, and separated by 4 INTs (Trevor has more, naturally).

An interesting fact to note is that, according to saturdaytradition.com, “4 of the 6 defenses that Fields has faced this past season were in the top 31 nationally in terms of yards per pass attempt, while Lawrence has faced just 1 in his 9 games (Miami).”

In 2019, Fields faced seven top-30 defenses, while Lawrence faced just three (Texas A&M, Ohio State and LSU), none of which were even from his own conference.” Clemson’s strength of schedule simply has never matched up to OSU’s. Trevor has just been put on a pedestal ever since he won the National Title as a freshman, which — props to him — was impressive.

However, it seems like every mistake he makes gets brushed under the rug, while every mistake that Fields makes is put under a magnifying glass. So, I am curious to see which QB will be better in the pros. I feel pretty confident that they will both end up being great, but in my humble (Buckeye) opinion, Fields will eventually come out on top — just like he did in the Sugar Bowl!

Poll

Which QB would you draft if you were an NFL GM?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Trevor Lawrence
    (269 votes)
  • 67%
    Justin Fields
    (659 votes)
  • 2%
    Zach Wilson
    (22 votes)
  • 1%
    Mac Jones
    (18 votes)
  • 1%
    Trey Lance
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (3 votes)
981 votes total Vote Now