It feels like every other news blurb that comes up as the 2021 NFL Draft approaches have been about Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. First, it was that Fields could not read the field well at all and work through progressions, then his leadership was questioned by Dan Orlovsky of ESPN, and now the newest go-to to get a shot in at Fields deals with his health as he apparently has epileptic tendencies.
Now just a week out from the event itself, it appears his head coach in Columbus has heard enough. Ryan Day, who has coached Ohio State to two College Football Playoff appearances and a National Championship appearance in just two seasons with Fields under-center has expressed his full support:
“Justin’s health, toughness and work ethic have never been an issue and I am incredibly proud of his professionalism and the character he displays on and off the field. The fact that he never missed a game at Ohio State speaks volumes about how he takes care of himself.”
What reality says about Fields as 2021 NFL Draft approaches
It’s time to debunk these slanderous rumors once and for all.
The first rumor: no Justin Fields does not struggle to work through his reads. In fact, according to Benjamin Solak of The Draft Network, Fields has thrown beyond his first read more than any other quarterback in this class. He also had the lowest percentage of run-pass option attempts and lowest percentage of screen passes of any of the top-five quarterbacks in this class.
The next rumor that needs addressing: Justin Fields is not a great leader. Who was it that started the petition for the Big Ten to return to play? Who was it who stuck his neck out and demanded accountability from the conference? Who was it who took a shot to the ribs in the semi-finals and proceeded to rip off a touchdown throw the very next play despite writhing in pain? Fields.
And now finally, the now emerging health concerns regarding Fields’ epilepsy: it is an easily treatable issue that many football players have played through, including Alan Faneca, who is a Hall of Fame offensive lineman who took shots to the head each and every play. Fields has played his whole life up to this point without any health concerns, there is no need to make it an issue now.
The madness has to stop at some point, and Day is doing his best to smooth it over. In just a week from now, Fields will likely be picked in the top ten, with the top three being the rational range for him and all of this madness will come to an end when the 2021 NFL Draft begins. He is the most accurate passer in this class, a player who gets through reads well and has some of the best tools we’ve seen. Don’t overthink this.