Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields has gained some ground on Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence in the race for the 2021 NFL draft. Fields and Lawrence will not be eligible to turn pro until 2021 at the earliest.
Fields began his college career at Georgia but played sparingly behind Jake Fromm. Fields opted to transfer to Ohio State and gained immediate eligibility from the NCAA. Fields and Lawrence entered the college football world considered to be virtually even by many talent evaluators as five-star recruits.
Lawrence jumped out to a massive lead as the favorite to be the No. 1 quarterback selected in the 2021 NFL draft after leading Clemson to a national championship. Lawrence’s slow start to the 2019 season combined with Fields’ strong season at Ohio State looks to have narrowed the gap between the two players. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that Fields is now in the conversation with Lawrence to be the No. 1 pick.
Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence may have competition from Ohio State’s Justin Fields, based on how Fields is playing, to be the first pick in 2021. I’d still [say] Lawrence is a heavy favorite, but that this is even a discussion is a huge [compliment] to Fields.
Justin Fields Is Looking to Catch Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 NFL Draft Race
Fields has clearly gained ground on Lawrence and still has another year remaining to potentially catch the Clemson quarterback. Heading into the Ohio State-Michigan matchup, Fields has thrown for 2,352 yards, 33 touchdowns and just one interception while completing more than 69 percent of his passes.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller noted earlier this season that Lawrence is still the favorite to be the No. 1 pick.
By April, we could also be talking about Ohio State’s Justin Fields or whomever Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley has turned into a top-tier pro prospect. But for the time being, Lawrence is still viewed as a prized prospect, no matter what his touchdown-to-interception ratio says after three games.
Fields Had the NFL in Mind When He Transferred to Ohio State
Fields was not shy about his motivation for transferring to Ohio State over the offseason. Fields discussed his criteria for finding his new school with ESPN prior to the season.
“Coach Day, he’s been in the NFL. He knows what it takes to get quarterbacks to the NFL,” Fields told ESPN. “…I was just worried about the best place to develop me for the next level. That’s the main thing I was looking for.”
ESPN’s Mel Kiper believes Ryan Day played a key role in Fields heading to Columbus.
“Ryan Day is a head coach with an NFL pedigree and a proven track record of putting players into the NFL, particularly quarterback,” Kiper noted to ESPN. “…There’s a reason that Fields talked to Haskins before he decided to transfer to Ohio State. Haskins gave him plenty of reasons to do so, and that started and ended with Ryan Day.”