I will be the first to say, I was a huge doubter of the idea of idea of drafting Justin Fields due to the need to trade up with the Jets and it cost a boat load of picks even going from 4 to 2. Costing anywhere from an extra first round pick to multiple day 2 picks would have been an aggressive move that is not necessary at this time. But with the rise of Zach Wilson to qb 2 discussion, I would love for Justin Fields to fall right into the Falcons lap at 4 and be the perfect replacement for Matt Ryan in the near future. Why do I prefer Justin Fields over the meteor mover that is Zach Wilson? Well here’s why.
I’m not gonna lie to anyone here. If Zach Wilson is actually 6’3″ like his bio says he is, I will be surprised. Wilson has more of the look to a Baker Mayfield. I am not saying this is a bad thing with the success of quarterbacks like Mayfield, Russell Wilson, and Kyler Murray, but I want the guy who looks a legit 6’3″ and carries a 225 pound frame like he’s 205. That’s what you get with a guy like Justin Fields. That frame will help him absorb the massive hits taken when trying to get the ball out at the last second. Fields being 20 pounds heavier is a huge benefit, even if it doesn’t feel like a huge deal right now.
Anyone that has already forgotten about the 40 passing td 1 int season Justin Fields provided last season might want to go back and look at that tape. He was an absolute menace to defenses throughout the season and in the Big 10 championship game. In fact, Fields only had 4 games with 2 touchdowns or less (not including the national semi final). Add that to 10 rushing touchdowns and you have a total of 50 tds in 2019 alone. The 2020 half season provided another 27 total touchdowns (22 passing) and 6 interceptions (5 of those in 2 games, one missing half his offensive line). Add his four touchdown passes in back up duty at Georgia and the final tally for his college career is 88 total touchdowns (66 passing) and 6 interceptions. and 11-1 td to int ratio is pretty darn good. Zach Wilson, during this same time frame is 71 total touchdowns (56 passing) and 15 interceptions. A very respectable 3.73-1 td to int ratio but nowhere near Justin Fields’ stat line. Zach Wilson has that one year wonder feel to him more than he does a substantial body of work.
Big Stage Experience
This one might seem like a bit of a cop out, but hear me out on this for just a moment. Justin Fields has spent his entire high school and college career in the spotlight. He and Trevor Lawrence both came out of Georgia as the top 2 prospects in the state and in the nation. Fields began his career at Georgia where they played for a national title while he was the back up to Jake Fromm, a decision that I am sure Kirby Smart regrets. He then transfer to Ohio State, another powerhouse program, and proceeds to lead them to 2 more college football playoff appearances. These are all experiences that cannot be replicated or simulated. That adrenaline burst when you run out on the field to compete for a national title is just different. Don’t get me wrong, Zach Wilson has played in some big games and there have been plenty of successful quarterbacks that did not play for a national title, but you cant mirror that kind of experience unless you have done it. Fields has, Wilson has not.
“Yeah man point out the obvious. Yeah Fields played in the Big 10 while Wilson played as an Independent. Your so clever. Blah, blah, blah. I can hear and see the eye rolls, but the point can’t be oversold. There is a reason there aren’t 100 of the 300 players picked in FCS, Division 2, Division 3 football. FBS football is where most of the top players play. No team that plays in a group of five conference has ever made the playoffs. Fields played Alabama, Clemson, Indiana and Northwestern this year; all of these teams were ranked higher in the final AP poll than the best opponent BYU played this year. With BYU being independent, and limited availability in the back half of the season, the Cougars are bound by teams accepting invitations to play them. Some teams relish the challenge, while other shy away. As the saying goes, you can only play the teams on your schedule. Wilsons competition is not bad, but the competition FIelds has played throughout is college career is exponentially better.
Why I Now Want Fields on the Falcons
My biggest trepidation with the Falcons drafting Justin Fields revolved around having to move up. Seems like the only team they should concerned about is whoever may trade up with Miami. There is still a lot of movement to be made over the next couple months as the NFL draft inches closer and closer. There is still a massive fish out there in Deshaun Watson that has yet to find a new home. Teams such as the Jets and Dolphins have made pitches to Texans ownership, but a deal has not been struck. If I were the Falcons management, I would keep hyping up all of this Zach Wilson QB2 hype. If Miami makes a deal with Houston, it may include Tua Tagovailoa removing both teams from the qb market. Justin Fields would be the perfect candidate to sit behind Matt Ryan for a year and soak in new coach Arthur Smith’s playbook. There are a lot of holes that need to be filled on this roster, but passing up on a franchise quarterback could me more catastrophic.
Fields has a cannon of an arm, has the toughness, is incredibly accurate, and he’s the hometown kid not named Trevor Lawrence. Get this guy in the building and make him the next big thing Atlanta. I think both guys will have varying degrees of a successful NFL career, but I just think the ceiling for Fields is higher overall.
I hope you enjoyed this read. Feel free to like, comment, and follow. Also, give me a follow on Twitter @yaboytosports if you feel so inclined. Be on the lookout Friday for the next installment of Futbol Friday.