National Football League

Justin Fields' sensational pro day sparks debate about NFL Draft's second-best QB

March 31

The 2021 NFL Draft is less than a month away, and outside of where Trevor Lawrence is going, there's a whole lot of discussion around the incoming quarterback talent.

One of those soon-to-be professionals, Justin Fields, undoubtedly gave NFL teams something to talk about by putting on a showcase Tuesday at Ohio State's pro day.

Fields put on a clinic in front of NFL coaches and personnel in Columbus, Ohio.

A 40-yard dash that clocked in at an unofficial 4.44 seconds proved to be the highlight of Fields' day.

If Fields had clocked that number at the NFL Scouting Combine ⁠— which isn't being held this year due to the pandemic ⁠— his time would be the second-fastest recorded by a quarterback, per ESPN.

Fields' time would be faster than Marcus Mariota's 4.52 in 2015, and only Robert Griffin III's 4.41 at the 2012 combine would best Fields' run.

Beyond that, Fields showed he can sling the rock with the best of them.

Fields also proved he has speed to burn, but he isn't a run-first quarterback by any means.

Keep in mind that Fields accounted for 5,373 passing yards, 63 passing touchdowns and nine interceptions in 22 games during his two seasons at Ohio State.

The Ohio State quarterback's sensational day even caught the attention of the presumptive No. 1 overall pick in Lawrence.

Speaking of the draft, with four quarterback-needy franchises drafting with the first four picks, this year's crop of college quarterbacks could make history.

If the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons ⁠— or any other combination of teams, pending trades ⁠— select four QBs with the first four picks in the draft, it'd be a new record.

As far as straight-up physicality goes, ESPN's Matt Miller said Fields' athleticism and arm strength are tops of the incoming class. 

With the way Fields showed out Tuesday, did he cement himself as the second-best incoming quarterback?

There is a difference of opinion among pundits, as BYU's Zach Wilson, Alabama's Mac Jones and North Dakota State's Trey Lance are also highly touted prospects.

One analyst with a vested interest, Brandon Marshall of "First Things First," has seen enough for the Jets to take Fields with the second overall pick.

Marshall played two seasons for the Jets during his 13-year NFL career, and he said it would be ill-advised for his former team to pass up the opportunity to take Fields.

Shannon Sharpe isn't buying the hype quite as much.

The NFL Hall of Famer and cohost of "Undisputed" dismissed the buzz around Fields' 40 time and listed the traits he thinks are more important when it comes to the quarterback position. 

"No, a 4.44 [40-yard dash] doesn't tell me anything about a QB. ... I want to know how fast can he process information and how accurately can he get the ball there. That's what I need to know. ... What is 4.4 gonna do for me? He ain't no WR, no RB, no DB."

Hear what Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe have to say about Justin Fields and Mac Jones in the upcoming NFL draft.

To Sharpe, it's Jones, who ran his pro day at Alabama on Tuesday, who fits the bill of the second-best quarterback. 

Meanwhile, Wilson, who drew eyeballs at his pro day Friday in Provo, Utah, is the favorite at FOX Bet to be the second quarterback drafted.

Should the Jets opt for Wilson — or another quarterback other than Fields — Nick Wright doesn't see the former Buckeye dropping past the Niners.

The draft is always a captivating spectacle, but this year's might be the most fascinating in recent memory.

Which quarterback will wind up with which team? It'll all shake out April 29 during the first round of the draft.

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