Which ‘expert’ predictions are top-tier, and which deserve to go undrafted?
If you’re like many of the inhabitants of Buckeye Nation, you likely cannot wait for this year’s NFL Draft to finally be over with after the amount of negative and frankly ridiculous discourse that has mainly encompassed the draft stock of Justin Fields.
Somehow, the “experts” are convinced that the guy who didn’t need to play another snap of collegiate football in 2020 in order to be a first round NFL Draft pick but still led the charge in bringing back the Big Ten season isn’t a good enough leader. They’ll make a big deal of his health issues like his self-acknowledged battle with epilepsy despite never missing a football game in his life, playing through numerous seemingly significant injuries, and radically changing his entire diet to get himself in the peak physical shape to play the game.
Those same “experts” are willing to ignore Justin Fields’ 78-to-9 total touchdowns to interceptions ratio in his two seasons at Ohio State (both of which resulted in a College Football Playoff appearance) to tell you that Zach Wilson is a more NFL-ready prospect because he was able to light up such tough defenses as — checks notes — North Alabama and Texas State. They’ll even tell you that he has some form of maturity issues while then simultaneously picking Mac Jones ahead of him who literally was arrested for a DUI as a freshman.
I don’t know about you, but I am tired of the nonsense. It is unclear what the motivation for the obvious coordinated attack on Justin Fields has been this offseason. Maybe it’s race. Maybe it’s people buying into the narrative that Ohio State can’t produce good NFL quarterback’s despite the program no longer having a head coach whose favorite play was the punt or one that would rather J.T. Barrett run 30 times a game than pass (H/T LGHL alum Colton Denning). Whatever it is, I’m ready for Fields to prove all the doubters wrong.
That being said, if these “experts” want to judge Justin Fields so harshly, then I’m going to do the same with their NFL mock drafts. Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst that the cesspool that is the Internet has been able to put together over the past few weeks, and I’ll tell you where I’d draft their Mock Drafts if I were a GM in Mock Draft land.
First Round Picks
I’m tempted to select nobody in the first round because Justin Fields should absolutely be the No. 2 pick in the draft behind only Trevor Lawrence, but I understand that most people simply think the New York Jets like Zach Wilson more, and that is their primary reason for slotting him at No. 2 instead. It’s a horrible football analysis, but it’s the Jets, so I’ll let it slide.
Simply one of the best mock drafts I’ve seen this entire offseason. Sikkema has Justin Fields going at No. 3 to the San Francisco 49ers, which I think should be the national consensus. Fields would be awesome in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and I agree with Sikkema’s notion that the organization didn’t trade up to that third spot to take another QB with a similar skillset to those he’s been given in the past. If you can hand pick a QB at No. 3, it should be Fields.
On top of that, Sikkema has a bunch of Buckeyes going early in the second round. He has Baron Browning at No. 40 overall to the Broncos, Tommy Togiai at No. 44 to the Cowboys, and Wyatt Davis at No. 52 to the Bears. In the third round, he has Pete Werner at No. 70 to the Eagles, and Trey Sermon at No. 87 to the Steelers.
It’s a damn good mock draft, and one that deserves early first-round consideration.
These Draft Network guys really know their stuff, but we already knew that after Solak himself came on the podcast this week to discuss Justin Fields and a few other Ohio State draft hopefuls. Like Sikkema, Solak also has Fields at No. 3 to the 49ers. He says that the betting odds have favored Mac Jones at that spot, but those odds have been shifting towards Fields ever so slightly as the draft nears. He likes what Fields could bring to the Shanahan offense in San Fran, and thinks he would excel in the RPO/screen game they like to incorporate.
Like Sikkema, Solak has a handful of Buckeyes going in the second round. He has Baron Browning at No. 46 to the Patriots, Pete Werner at No. 51 to the Washington Football Team, and Wyatt Davis at No. 64 to the Buccaneers. In the third round, he has Tommy Togiai at No. 80 to the Raiders, Shaun Wade at No. 101 to the Lions, and Josh Myers at No. 102 to the 49ers.
Another very solid mock. The Draft Network guys get an ‘A’ from me.
Like The Draft Network guys before him, Hodgkinson is smart and has Justin Fields going No. 3 overall to the San Francisco 49ers. He even goes a step further to explain why:
“…it was unbelievable — inconceivable — to me that Jones would be the No. 3 overall player, let alone quarterback in this class. Teams reach for quarterbacks all the time. That’s the nature of the business. However, reaching for a quarterback when there is a better quarterback available seems just UNBELIEVABLE!
That’s why the 49ers use the third overall pick in this 4-Round 2021 NFL Mock Draft to select Justin Fields. As far as I’m concerned, the Ohio State quarterback is the second-best quarterback in the class. I’ll go one step further and say I honestly believe he’s the third-best overall player in this class.”
He’s not wrong, and on top of being one of the few draft pundits without worms for brains, he too has a bunch of Buckeyes in the next few rounds. In the second round, Hodgkinson has Browning at No. 41 (Lions), Davis at No. 47 (Chargers), and Myers at 63 (Chiefs). In the third, he’s got Werner at No. 70 (Eagles), Togiai at No. 93 (Bills). His draft also extends into the fourth round, where he has Sermon at No. 112 (Lions).
It’s a strong draft, and worthy of a first-round pick.
Second Round Picks
The combined draft between the well-respected ESPN mock draft duo gave Kiper the first pick and then alternated between the two from there. In this exercise from April 20, they landed on Justin Fields at No. 3 to the 49ers. This is kind of surprising, because in each of their individual mock drafts they had Fields going to the Patriots (Kiper at No. 10 and McShay at No. 11, both requiring New England to trade up to land him).
Their tag-team mock featured no Buckeyes in the second round, and had Davis, Wade and Werner all going somewhere in the mid-third round with Myers near the end. With the lack of second-round selections and their own personal mocks dinging Fields, the best I can do here is a mid second-round pick.
As we get later into our Mock Draft mock draft, we get a bunch of experts picking Justin Fields to go after Mac Jones, but still within the top 10. We start with Jeremiah, who has Fields slotted at No. 7 to the Detroit Lions. This is a bit of an intriguing spot, as the Lions just traded for Jared Goff this offseason. However, maybe this could provide the perfect environment for Fields to sit for a year before taking over as the starter in 2022. As Jeremiah says, Fields has far more upside than Goff.
This mock only encompasses the first round, and so it is unclear where he would pin the rest of the Buckeye hopefuls. He does give a disclaimer that his mock is a reflection of where he thinks players will go and not where they should go, and he is surprised that Jones seems to be the guy at No. 3. As a result, I’ll give Jeremiah the benefit of the doubt with a late second-round pick.
Like Jeremiah, Wilson has Fields at No. 7 to the Lions. He too doesn’t feel all that confident in Goff, and if Detroit isn’t looking for a quarterback at this spot then he thinks there are a few teams who could consider trading up to get Fields. In addition, he also doesn’t quite seem to understand the 49ers’ lean towards Mac Jones. He has Fields ranked as the No. 3 QB in the draft, while he has Jones as fifth.
The lone second-round pick for the Buckeyes’ in Wilson’s draft is Browning at No. 62 to the Packers. In the third, Davis at No. 78 (Vikings), Myers at No. 87 (Steelers), and Togiai at No. 92 (Packers). Wilson’s mock goes a full seven rounds, so you can check out where he has the rest of Ohio State’s NFL prospects going over at CBS Sports.
I considered selecting Wilson in the late first-round because he does rank Fields ahead of Jones positionally, but without seeing Fields in that No. 3 spot to San Fran, he falls into the second round — probably ahead of both Jeremiah and Kiper/McShay though.
Mid-to-late Round Picks
Tankathon has Justin Fields going at No. 9 to the Denver Broncos, which is where many mock drafts in the past week think he will be selected. Drew Lock hasn’t exactly been stellar in the Mile High City, and injuries have really hampered his development. They could look to give the young QB one more season to try and put it all together before replacing him with Fields down the road.
In the second round, Tankathon has Davis going at No. 50 (Dolphins) and Browning at No. 63 (Chiefs), and in the third round has Josh Myers at No. 79 (Vikings), Togiai at No. 93 (Packers), and Wade at No. 102 (Lions).
It’s not the best mock in the world, but it certainly isn’t the worst. I’d consider taking it somewhere in the third or fourth round.
Like Tankathon, Campbell also has Fields going No. 9 to the Broncos. However, unlike Tankathon, Campbell’s draft is getting taken in the last round because of the following comments:
“Coaches tend to prefer players who are intelligent, hard working, and have plus intangibles. Jones fits that over Lance and Fields.”
“Improving his pocket passing, executing in the face of the rush, handling blitzes, and anticipating receivers coming open are critical areas of emphasis for Fields.”
Spoiler alert — Jones does not fit that over Lance and Fields. Mac Jones played in the greatest college football offense of all time. I simply don’t see the “intangibles” other than being able to complete passes to guys that are always wide open with an offensive line in front of him capable of stopping a moving train. Also, Fields is probably the most accurate pocket passer in the entire draft — and that includes Trevor Lawrence.
I generally like WalterFootball’s draft content, but these are just bad takes. They get a last round pick saved only by the fact that they still had Fields in the top 10.
I’m adding this Mock Draft to my post Mock Draft tracking grade come Friday.
Chris Simms final Mock Draft has Justin Fields going 32 to Tampa to be Tom Brady replacement. pic.twitter.com/r2dLpUaBCv
— jbook™ (@jbook37) April 27, 2021