After a disappointing 2020 season for the New England Patriots, the Patriots find themselves picking #15 in the upcoming NFL Draft. The Patriots had a lot of needs entering the offseason, but addressed many of those needs through free agency. Now, the Patriots find themselves in a position to, you guessed it, draft a franchise quarterback.
With the 15th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the On Tap Sports Net crew believes the New England Patriots will draft quarterback Justin Fields out of Ohio State University.
Justin Fields began the draft process as the #2 rated quarterback per almost every outlet. Now, Fields has quickly dropped to as low as fifth and I'll be honest, I don't understand why. Fields is an elite playmaker, with plenty of accuracy on his throws, as well as strength and touch. Factor that with his smarts and he can be excellent at the next level.
Here's a perfect example of the throws he can make. This was his freshman year at the University of Georgia. Check out this ball:
The numbers don't lie either. In 2019, after transferring to Ohio State, Fields threw for 3,273 yards, 41 touchdowns, and only three interceptions. Yes, three! He also had a 67.2% completion percentage and ran for 484 yards and 10 touchdowns in 14 games. Fields was elite in 2019.
In 2020, Fields was also incredible, and he played almost half the amount of games as he did in 2019. After the Big Ten Conference began their football season late due to COVID-19, Fields threw for 2,100 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions in just eight games. He also had a dazzling 70.2% completion percentage, accompanied by 383 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground. That said, despite the impressive numbers, despite the impressive upset over Clemson in the 2020 College Football Playoff, Fields is being downgraded because of his "inability to make throws after his first read."
Newsflash for those in that camp, he was better than every other quarterback in this draft on throws after his first read:
For those still in doubt, check out his little blurb about his ability to learn.
Long story short, Fields scored the best of any athlete ever on this test. A 130 is incredible when a score of 100 is deemed good. He scored higher than Patrick Mahomes. What it means is that he can learn incredibly fast, which is something Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots salivate over.
Justin Fields has all the makings of an NFL quarterback. If he falls to the Patriots, watch out. Just in case people still doubt his arm, watch this:
The largest weaknesses Fields has relate to his decision making. However, based on the statistics mentioned above, he shouldn't be downgraded so heavily for a few errors. You think Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones haven't had their fair share of errors? I'm sure they have.
One example was the Indiana game, and how, on an Indiana blitz, he didn't take the dump into the flat. He was sacked on the play as a result. That said, there is more that goes into the play. What if the tight end wasn't deemed "hot" on the play in the event of a blitz? Perhaps it was just an instance where the defense was better than the offense. Guess what, it happens. If his glaring weakness is a questionable decision here and there, and he is considered the most teachable quarterback in this draft, the Patriots can coach Fields into an elite quarterback.
At the end of the day, Fields is a phenomenal prospect. He has all the makings of an elite NFL quarterback. If people are concerned because of Ohio State quarterbacks' track records, don't be with Fields. He is very different than those that came before him at Ohio State.
If Fields and the Patriots are a marriage that is meant to be, this will be the perfect situation for both. Fields, based on his ability to learn, will mesh perfectly into New England's system where they love to scheme and adapt their playbook. Fields, of any quarterback in this draft, has the ability to run the offense the way Belichick and Josh McDaniels desire.