Fields looking like Deshaun Watson 2.0, not Lamar Jackson

Justin Fields of Ohio State prepares to throw a pass.
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon

NCAAF· 1 year ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

In just his second year out of high school right now, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields will have to wait until 2021 to enter the NFL Draft. That doesn’t mean it’s too soon to project how he will turn out at the next level.

Player comparison

It wouldn’t be fair to say that Fields is the next Lamar Jackson. That would be unfair to the Ravens’ quarterback and it would be unfair to Fields, as well. With Fields being a sophomore and in his first college football season as a starter, the jury is still out. There is no need to put excess pressure on him right now, and comparing him to the NFL’s current best player would be foolish. Jackson, for what it’s worth, is a huge -300 favorite to win NFL MVP following his Monday night performance during a 45-6 humiliation of the Rams.

It would not be entirely accurate, either. Jackson is faster and shiftier, boasting a superior ability to run the football downfield. Heck, he is superior to just about every other NFL quarterback in those departments these days. Fields is listed an inch taller at 6’3’’ and 11 pounds heavier at 223. Although the 20-year-old has plenty of make-you-miss ability and has rushed for 445 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, he is more of a run-through-you kind of player whereas Jackson will run around you.

Texans’ QB Deshaun Watson, meanwhile, may be more similar to what Fields is—and to what Fields will become. Also hailing from Georgia, Watson is right near Fields in the size department and is a drop-back, pro-style quarterback who is also more than capable of tucking it and running when necessary. He has never been afraid to hit and be hint; sometimes too unafraid to the extent that he has been required to scale it back in recent seasons to avoid injuries.f

Fields of gold

Fields probably isn’t going to win the Heisman Trophy due to the otherworldly numbers being put up by LSU signal-caller Joe Burrow, but he is certainly in the discussion along with teammate Chase Young. At present Fields is a +800 second choice and Young, a rare defensive contender, is +1400.

The former Georgia Bulldog is completing 69.4 percent of his passes for 2,352 yards with 33 touchdowns compared to only one interception. He has also kept it 105 times for the aforementioned 445 yards and 10 scores. Fields has the Buckeyes at 11-0 with three top-25 victories over Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Penn State. They have won all of their games by double-digits.

We are about to find out even more about Fields with his team set to visit Michigan this weekend (check out our college football predictions for Thanksgiving rivalry week!). The precedes a Big Ten Championship appearance and perhaps one or even two games in the College Football Playoff.

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