As the NFL Draft continues to creep closer, the conversation about Justin Fields continues. Even after his pro day recently, there is still a divide among the analysts about where the former Buckeye stacks up compared to other quarterbacks in the class.

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day has been forced to defend his former quarterback from the criticism on several occasions over the last few weeks, and he did it again on the Move the Sticks podcast from NFL Network.

Day pointed to Fields’ incredible performance against Clemson, despite taking a huge hit that left him playing most of the game in serious pain.

“The way that he responded in that game, in the biggest moment, was six touchdowns and he wasn’t going to be denied,” Day said. “I mean, I can’t tell you there’s many quarterbacks that I’ve been around that would take a shot like that and come back in in a play and throw a touchdown pass and go on to be able to play the way he did — and then go on to play in the national championship game banged up, without really practicing much. So this is a tough, tough guy who has been very dependable for us.”

Because of the hit he took in the Sugar Bowl against Clemson, Fields didn’t have much time to prepare or practice for the national championship against Alabama the following week. Day was surprised by how well his quarterback performed, eve in the loss.

“He played better than I thought he would,” Day said. “He really didn’t practice much at all. I wasn’t sure he was going to be able to play in the game, to be very honest. And we had one padded practice that he really wasn’t a part of, going into that game. So the timing and everything about that, going into that game, was not something we felt comfortable with. And when I go back and … watch the film, with all those things against him, he did have really good snaps. He played well in that game. He didn’t take chances. Had a couple big runs, a couple of really nice throws.

“And in a different time, in a different setting — who knows what that would’ve looked like. But I thought he competed, and he always has done that — never seen him not. Again, when you just watch the film, against a good defense — and a really good team, obviously — he played well.”

Where will Fields fall in the draft? We’ll find out in just a few weeks.

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