While it’s only been about two weeks since the last Ohio State football game of the season, I am officially in withdrawal. I know that it is currently basketball season, however the Bucks have been struggling as of late. Therefore, I am choosing to focus on football — why have Ohio State quarterbacks struggled so much in the NFL, and why Justin Fields (and possibly C.J. Stroud) could end this unfortunate run of poor QB play.
There have been 15 Buckeye quarterbacks selected in the common draft era, not including Mike Tomczak being an undrafted free agent and Terrelle Pryor being a supplemental draft pick. Only TWO of these QBs finished with winning records: Craig Krenzel (3-2) and Mike Tomczak (42-31).
This stat is just flabbergasting to me. Obviously, Ohio State has consistently put out a ton of talented QBs, especially within the past decade. So, what happened? Injuries? Off-the-field issues? Perhaps their supporting cast at Ohio State made them look better than they actually are?
Let’s start with Art Schlichter in 1982. He had the opportunity to be the Colts’ franchise QB, yet gambling problems led to him being cut just three years later. Bobby Hoying suffered a career-ending elbow injury. Joe Germaine played behind Kurt Warner and Trent Green, never getting a true opportunity.
Stepping into the 21st century, there hasn’t been any improvement. Troy Smith’s short stature couldn’t cut it in the NFL and he eventually just flamed out. Terrelle Pryor switched to wide receiver. Cardale Jones simply wasn’t good enough (still a Buckeye legend, though). And that brings us to the present with Dwayne Haskins, who is currently on the Steelers. However, he has had more than one off-the-field issue, which has definitely hurt his career.
So, while Haskins still has a chance, my money is on Justin Fields to right this very wrong quarterback ship. Fields definitely has the talent, and off-the-field issues don’t seem to be a problem. However, it is on his teammates and coaches to keep him healthy, and give him enough support to succeed.
The Bears already took the first steps in firing head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace, so now the organization must make the right hiring decisions in who will lead Fields to greatness. In addition, he needs help. The offensive line allowed the most sacks in the NFL, and Darnell Mooney is Fields’ only reliable receiver. The Bears need to do some serious work this offseason, but if they make the right moves, Fields could flourish.
Moving on to the current Ohio State QB, C.J. Stroud. Yes, he has only played one season, but is it ever too early to project his success in the NFL? Of course not. I think he is a star in the making. Between being a Heisman finalist and having a historic Rose Bowl game, Stroud had a monster season and finished it on a very high note.
He has an extremely similar build to Fields, yet isn’t as mobile so injury isn’t as big of a concern. While he did have the best receivers in the nation this season, he also had no problem working with first-time starters Marvin Harrison Jr. and Julian Fleming. There is no reason why Stroud wouldn't succeed in the pros, however I will happily enjoy the time he still has left as a Buckeye.
Do you think Justin Fields will have a successful NFL career?
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