NFL Draft analyst says BYU's Zach Wilson 'significantly better' than Ohio State's Justin Fields
Justin Fields was 20-2 as Ohio State’s starting quarterback, was a two-time B1G Offensive Player of the Year, a Heisman finalist and led the Buckeyes to two College Football Playoff appearances. But for ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay, Fields is behind two other quarterbacks in terms of draft stock.
Not only that, McShay thinks BYU quarterback Zach Wilson is “significantly better” than Fields. Seriously.
Entering the 2020 season, the race for the No. 1 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft was between Fields and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. With the college football season in the books, it appears to be a lock that Lawrence will be taken with the first overall pick in a few months. And, most believed that meant Fields would be the next quarterback off the board.
McShay doesn’t think that will be the case. Neither does fellow ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
It’s probably fair to give Wilson some love entering this year’s draft. He only lost one game at BYU in 2020 and threw for 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions while completing over 73% of his passes. But is he “significantly better” than Fields? That seems like a stretch.
But McShay explained why he feels that way in a SportsCenter appearance on Tuesday.
“We’ve seen better competition from Fields in terms of what he’s gone up against the last two years, but I think Wilson is a better player,” McShay said. The reason I say that is that I think he has better instincts, I think he processes quicker, and I think he extends plays just as well if not better than Justin Fields. Now, Fields is big and strong and he can make all the throws, and when he can see his receiver open and he has turned to him, he’s very accurate. But the anticipation throws and making things happen outside the pocket, I think Zach Wilson excels in those areas. That’s why I would take Wilson over Fields. The more I study, even though the competition isn’t great — as I mentioned, BYU did not play a great schedule this year — but he’s gotten bigger, he’s gotten stronger, he stayed healthy this year and I think Zach Wilson is significantly better. I think there’s a drop-off after Lawrence, then I think it’s Wilson, then I think it’s Fields and Lance and Mac Jones is the next three quarterbacks.”
Fields threw for 2,100 yards and 22 touchdowns with 6 interceptions, but completed over 70% of his passes, while also rushing for 383 yards and 5 additional scores. Plus, the competition the Buckeyes faced in 2020 was significantly better than BYU played.
McShay isn’t alone in his assessment. Kiper also believes Fields will be the No. 3 quarterback selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.
At one time, Fields was a lock to be one of the top two quarterbacks chosen in the draft. That might still be the case, but it appears his stock has fallen among the “experts.”