How rare is it for somebody like Justin Fields to fall out of the top 10 in an NFL draft? A player of that talent has no business dropping that far. Yet it happened and has happened multiple times over the years. Patrick Mahomes fell to #10 in 2017. Aaron Rodgers fell to #24 in 2005. Ben Roethlisberger fell to #11 in 2004. Despite the rampant desires for talented, young quarterbacks it seems like teams continue to talk themselves out of taking them every year.
Yet it seems Fields was an especially egregious case. Here is a guy with all the tools. Size, arm strength, accuracy, and mobility. Zero background issues. Big performances in big games. At the end of 2019, everybody had him as the #2 QB behind Trevor Lawrence. Then Fields beat Lawrence in the college football playoffs. What else was there to see? Apparently, more than he could offer for the 10 teams who passed on him, allowing the Bears to jump up from 20th overall to grab him. According to Adam Hoge of NBC Sports Chicago, other teams still can’t believe it.
Fields had no business falling that far in their minds.
Many around the league were stunned. They couldn’t believe Fields fell that far. With so much quarterback demand this year, and a healthy supply in the draft, how the Panthers and Broncos pass on him and why did no one else trade up before the Bears did?
“They just saved their jobs,” a source from an AFC team texted minutes after the pick was made.
The explosion of joy from Bears fans told the entire story. They knew what had just happened. They understood the level of talent Fields represented. Many evaluators felt he eclipsed even Lawrence from a physical perspective. If he lives up to his potential in Chicago, this is a genuine superstar the Bears just landed. Somebody with a mix of Cam Newton and Russell Wilson in his game. He’s already putting in the work.
(via corey_bridgesc4/IG) pic.twitter.com/mEKODTKDqw
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) May 4, 2021
Fields said after getting drafted he was tired of talking. He just wanted to get to work. That sounds like a guy who feels slighted. Disrespected. Normally when something like that happens to a competitor of his level? Other teams are going to pay the price when he finally gets on the field. Don’t expect the Bears to complain about that. The angrier and more focused they can get him, the better.
Justin Fields is no stranger to being doubted
He was doubted at Georgia where he couldn’t land an opportunity to start. He was doubted going against the mighty Lawrence last season before hanging six TDs on Clemson. People don’t think he’ll succeed in the NFL because he’s from Ohio State and their QB legacy is an ugly one. Now he stares down the rough history of quarterbacks in Chicago too. There is a lot riding on his shoulders and he seems completely unbothered by it.
This is what he puts in the work for. He wants that pressure. He wants that responsibility. Justin Fields isn’t in it to be good. He’s in it to be great. That is what drew him to Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace. They feel he has both the mental and physical capability to carry this franchise on his back. It’s just a matter of making sure he’s ready. Something this organization hasn’t always been great about in the past.
This time could be different though.
The Bears have done a good job stacking their coaching staff with QB-friendly minds. They invested heavily in the offensive line and added an array of options at wide receiver as well. That will help Andy Dalton in the short-term but this team can finally take the long view as well. Making Fields a success is their priority. If that happens, this franchise is set up to compete for years to come.