Jump to content

"Why Justin Fields historic test score is a big deal"


Recommended Posts


Why Justin Fields’ historic test score is a big deal

Arm talent, accuracy, running ability and historically good recall. Justin Fields has it all in a quarterback prospect. So why is his NFL Draft stock so low?


Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields has long been considered the No. 2 signal-caller behind Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 class, but ahead of the NFL Draft, his stock has dropped in a big way.

It’s gotten to the point where Fields may be the fifth QB selected in the first round. That may be a blessing in disguise, but some of the criticisms about Fields are just plain lazy, and flat-out wrong.

But a recent test the Buckeyes field general took suggests that reported criticisms of a lackluster work ethic and an apparent inability to move off his first read are just not accurate.

Justin Fields’ recall suggests he’ll be a quick NFL study

In an interview on The Pat McAfee Show former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez provided some fascinating insight into a memory-based test Fields recently excelled on:

"The guy who supposedly can't go through his reads.. Doesn't have great work ethic, all this bogus stuff.. He scored the highest.. Ever" @Mark_Sanchez tells us about Justin Fields & his performance on an aptitude test out of 6,500 professional athletes #PatMcAfeeShowLIVE

While top prospects of recent years and legitimate NFL superstars in Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen scored high, Fields blew them both away and scored the highest in the test’s history among more than 6,500 pro athletes.

Because of Fields’ borderline photographic memory, there’s reason to believe he’ll have little trouble picking up an NFL playbook.

Share this Tweet

Did you get that, Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers? Maybe drafting Mac Jones isn’t the way to go.

Although critics will continue to harp on the fact that recent Ohio State quarterbacks don’t work in the pros and that the gimmicky offense doesn’t prepare players well for the NFL, Fields has demonstrated he can execute pro-style concepts.

Justin Fields' on-field processing is underrated

Back to the notion that Fields can’t see the field, process the play as it unfolds, and can’t get off his first read.

The ment

PFF Grade on throws past 1st read since 2019: (min. 60 attempts) 1st - Justin Fields - 90.6 2nd - Zach Wilson - 90.1 3rd - Trey Lance - 87.2 ... 7th - Trevor Lawrence - 78.6 8th - Mac Jones - 75.7

al aptitude Fields showed on this test suggests that’s not the case, and so do several raw numbers from Fields’ 2020 season.

As The Draft Network’s Benjamin Solak referenced in a recent article, Fields had a higher number of pass attempts beyond his first read (19.69%) than any of the other top QB prospects. What’s more, Fields’ 69% completion rate on such attempts was way better than Lawrence’s 43.4%.

More data to back up Fields’ ability to move through progressions and make quality plays from Pro Football Focus:

Hard to argue with the data at this point. Pair that with Fields’ obviously bright mind, and it sounds like you’ve got a pretty killer combo in a QB.

But wait, there’s more: Fields is a dynamic runner who ran in the 4.4’s in his 40-yard dash. He also showed amazing toughness after getting rocked in the College Football Playoff semifinals against Clemson. He came back in to outduel Lawrence and threw six touchdowns in the Buckeyes’ 49-28 victory.

Ohio State’s offense featured heavy use of option routes, which meant Fields held the ball longer as those plays developed. That’s part of why he’s rightly viewed as a “see-it” thrower, yet some of that is based on what the Buckeyes asked him to do.

Finally, Fields’ supreme athleticism allows him to buy time with his legs. That won’t always work in the NFL, yet his mobility can help Fields make plays outside of structure. Some of that unique skill set accounts for Fields’ ability to make plays beyond his first read.

But to say Fields flat-out doesn’t have the skill set or fast-enough processing to ultimately succeed as a pocket passer seems dubious at best, and a dated generalization at worst.

Justin Fields is out to disprove misguided stereotypes

NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks recently underscored the problematic implication that Fields isn’t a student of the game:

It always appears that certain QBs are labeled as lazy or lacking a great work ethic while others are lauded for their IQ & mental capacities. It would be nice if we wouldn’t routinely affix stereotypes to ONLY Black QBs. Non-Black QBs NEVER get these labels on TV. Weird, right?
Quote Tweet
Seth (Justin Fields is QB2) Steere
· Mar 31
Dan Orlovsky on the @PatMcAfeeShow show today had some interesting quotes that he’s getting from guys in the know. “Last guy in, first guy out.” “I’ve heard there are some questions with Justin Fields’ work ethic.” “Where is his desire to be a great quarterback?”
Show this thread
These media narratives created from anonymous sources impact the perception of Black QBs. Fair or not, these labels stick & impact how fan bases view QB prospects beyond the pre-draft process. It’s all good to offer critiques but it would be nice to see non-stereotypical analysis

As the perception of what a quarterback should be has changed in recent years, the tired stereotypes about black men persist in the evaluation process. That’s not a hot take or some SJW-contrived fantasy. It’s just pointing out the obvious.

Now, some will point to Johnny Manziel’s party boy antics, or Baker Mayfield‘s infamous police video at Oklahoma as examples of non-black QBs who had their perceived issues called into question.

That’s missing the larger point, though. Neither of them really had their work ethic doubted, and Mayfield was the first overall pick anyway. Mayfield admitted publicly to not working as hard as he should’ve amid a sophomore slump in 2019. A Hall of Fame evaluator labeled Manziel smart and “a very quick learner.” We all know how Johnny Football ended up.

If Fields can go past his primary read more often, and more accurately, than his peers, has seemingly genius-level recall and is arguably the most dynamic dual-threat playmaker at the position, how is it that he’s widely projected to be the fifth QB drafted?


Evaluating Justin Fields’ 2021 NFL Draft stock

There’s no need to dwell on the racial element to Fields’ draft outlook, but it’d feel disingenuous not to mention it. Now that it’s been addressed, let’s look at Fields from yet another angle.

Fields’ situation feels very similar to what happened with Oregon’s Justin Herbert last year.

Herbert was a long-term starter for the Ducks who was a three-time academic All-American. Due to the way Oregon’s offense was constructed, Herbert didn’t get to show off all that he could do. There was this notion that he wasn’t capable of going from the Ducks’ system to an NFL offense quickly.

We all know how that turned out. The Los Angeles Chargers couldn’t be more thrilled with having Herbert as their QB of the future.

Falling in the draft isn’t always the worst thing. Aaron Rodgers had no business sliding to the Green Bay Packers, and the same was true for Baltimore Ravens MVP Lamar Jackson, who was the last pick of the first round in 2018.

Fields isn’t likely to fall out of the top 10, but he should be more prominently featured in the conversation for the No. 2 overall pick alongside Zach Wilson. The New York Jets seem set on Wilson, who looks to have a bright future in his own right. That said, Fields was the QB2 for a long time for good reason.

At the very least, it should be Wilson QB2a and Fields QB2b. If the latter falls to a more stable franchise with a roster readier to win now, or if a more prominent contender trades up for him, don’t be surprised to see Fields make like Herbert and have the best rookie season of any quarterback entering the 2021 NFL Draft.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand people not wanting to use #4 on a guy that won’t be an immediate contributor, but he would definitely be a good player to have lying in wait. Something to look forward to.


I suspect that by the time we are on the clock, it won’t matter though. Right now, I don’t believe for a second that SF will take Jones over Fields.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Macknsweetjones said:

If he’s there I think we take him, I think niners Mac Jones is a 😶🌫️😶🌫️😶🌫️😶🌫️ So it really come down to them taking Lance or Fields…

There is no position greater than QB in the NFL and it's not close.   As great as Kyle Pitts may be, he gets 10-12 targets a game.    Justin Fields is a game-changer that touches the ball on every....single....play.    


Link to comment
Share on other sites

some of these teams outside the Top 5 probably putting this sheot into the ether hoping Fields will drop to them.   Hopefully it doesn't work and I don't believe it will.   I see Fields going either #3 to SanFran or #4 to Atlanta or someone trading up w/ Atlanta.    Of course Falcons could also take Pitts at #4 as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

His play has always left me wanting just a little more from him (outside of the Clemson game.) I'm not sure if that's because of his hype or the offenses he's been in. He has all the tools to be a great QB in the NFL and I've warmed up to the idea of drafting him. I just hope he pans out if we pull the trigger.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Again, Fields is my favorite of the QBs we could draft. And for me, this isn't a "we have Ryan" thing...I just don't see him being the best player there at our pick. I'll defer to the new staff, but that's where I'm at.

That said, if we're absolutely drafting one of the QBs, he's the one I'd be happiest with at 4.

21 minutes ago, g-dawg said:


Been saying this is a stupid *** criticism. I think the bigger issue for him is that he doesn't always take what's given to him, likes to push the ball downfield...but that's easier to fix than getting locked on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, Snafu said:

I understand people not wanting to use #4 on a guy that won’t be an immediate contributor, but he would definitely be a good player to have lying in wait. Something to look forward to.


I suspect that by the time we are on the clock, it won’t matter though. Right now, I don’t believe for a second that SF will take Jones over Fields.

I think Mac Jones is the best fit for the Falcons offense

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, MattM12 said:

I'll give you this G-Dawg, Fields has the biggest 'boom' potential of the top 4 QBs. Hope he stays healthy and gets better against the blitz/pressure.


the criticisms are very shallow and don't hold up to the light of day.    This will be similar to the DeShaun Watson stuff where people will look back 5 years and not understand why the player and the talent wasn't more obviously appreciated and recognized.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I been saying it over and over.  Justin Fields is the BEST quarterback in this draft and Chris Simms, Orlovsky, every one of them is aware of that.   Trevor Lawrence is the one who has been given a pass, big time.   The dude can't read defenses.  Clemson protected him with one side of the field reads, and he still made a lot of questionable interceptions.  Justin Fields has better accuracy than any quarterback I've seen.  The stats prove he is a progression quarterback who can play in OR outside the pocket.  


Given all of that data, it strikes me as odd that Lawrence has never been held to the same standard as Fields. Every mistake from Fields — like his 3-interception game against Indiana — is magnified on sports talk shows and in QB debates and puts him in danger of dropping below BYU’s Zach Wilson or North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, while Lawrence can seemingly do no wrong, despite a lot of evidence that Lawrence makes just as many mistakes as Fields. Lawrence, for example, has thrown an interception once every 68.1 passes, while Fields has thrown an interception once every 69.6 passes.

Former NFL QB Trent Dilfer, who runs the prestigious Elite 11 camp for high school QBs, is the first analyst I’ve heard push back on the idea that Lawrence is a perfect prospect, saying recently on The Ryen Russillo Podcast: “The narrative started going a direction about 12 months ago where it’s like, ‘Oh, he has no flaws. He’s perfect.’ Uh, no, he’s not.”

Dilfer went on to describe Lawrence’s long delivery, how Clemson’s offense cuts the field in half and limits Lawrence’s reads and how he can be overconfident with his arm. Russillo, who was surprised, commented: “You pointed out some things we haven’t heard from anyone else.”


Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Herr Doktor said:

Near Photographic memory.  Nice, can't teach that ****.  



Didn't RG3 have that? Until it was knocked out of him by Spoon?



I remember him on Gruden's QB Camp reciting a complicated play call in perfect detail after a few minutes of chatter about his background by Gruden to try to throw him off. I found that very impressive at the time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...