Justin Fields' NFL Draft odds improve after second pro day

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April 19th, 2021

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields is back in the discussion as a top-three draft pick, after he participated in his second pro day last week.

Once regarded as the best quarterback prospect not named Trevor Lawrence, Fields had seen his draft stock plummet in the past month, as BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, Alabama's Mac Jones, and North Dakota State dual threat Trey Lance began to garner greater attention.

That all changed again Wednesday, when Fields performed drills in front of San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, as well as representatives from the New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, and Chicago Bears.

Following the workout, Fields’ odds as the No. 3 overall selection jumped to +100, which makes him the frontrunner to be the Niners' first pick.

2021 NFL Draft odds, third overall pick

Justin Fields
Mac Jones
Trey Lance
Zach Wilson
Kyle Pitts

Just a month ago, Jones was rumored as the Niners' preferred prospect, after San Francisco traded up to the No. 3 spot on the draft board.

The speculation surrounding Jones was a bit surprising, considering the Alabama QB was, at times, labeled a game manager last season.

Fields, on the other hand, possesses a unique blend of size, athleticism, arm talent, and accuracy that makes him an ideal quarterback in today's NFL.

The 6-foot-3, 227-pound signal caller is a more dynamic playmaker than Jones, who started just one year at Alabama.

The knock on Fields' college résumé

Fields and Jones faced off in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship, which Alabama won, 52-24.

Jones excelled, with 464 yards and five touchdown passes, while Fields came in hobbled, with a rib injury, and put up just 194 yards and a touchdown on 51% passing. 

Fields' struggle under the spotlight is one reason his draft desirability has come into question.

The 22-year-old QB also faced issues against Indiana during a Big Ten matchup, in which Fields completed 60% of his passes and threw three interceptions.

His worst outing of the season came in another high-profile contest — the Big Ten Championship Game against Northwestern. In the 22-10 Ohio State victory, Fields completed 12 of his 27 passes for 114 yards and was intercepted twice. He also failed to score a touchdown.

While those three games drew some criticism, the two-year starter at Ohio State has enjoyed an overwhelmingly successful college career.

His only two losses as a starter came in the College Football Playoff, and he earned the third-most Heisman Trophy votes, behind Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts, in 2019.

What to expect for Fields on draft day

No draft pick this year has been more widely discussed than the No. 3 pick by the 49ers. With the 2021 NFL Draft just 10 days away, a lot could still change, especially after Lance's second pro day performance.

Fields' second pro day was closed to the media, so there is limited information to glean from his most recent outing.

Ohio State released footage of Fields showcasing his arm strength and ability to throw on the run. He also posted a 4.44 40-yard dash in his first pro day, and his 60-yard pass while rolling left became a viral sensation on social media.

Fields earned a 6.45 draft grade from NFL.com, just slightly below Lance's 6.47. Wilson graded out at 6.5, the second-best QB mark, behind Lawrence at 7.4, while Jones was rated at 6.33.

Lance comes from the same FCS school as Carson Wentz and attempted just 318 passes in his college career. He will be 20 years old at the time of the draft, so youth and inexperience could scare away some franchises looking for a starter.

While Fields suffered through a few shoddy performances in 2020, his overall body of work makes up for those mishaps, and his upside is too good to pass on.

Look for the Ohio State phenom to reclaim his place in the top three of the draft and find a new home in San Francisco.