Film Review: 5 legitimate concerns in Justin Fields NFL projection

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Before I even start, let me get this out there first. Trading up for Justin Fields was a no-brainer by the Chicago Bears. His combination of size, athleticism, arm strength, and deep field accuracy combined into a player who has won big games is enough to take the shot. He is in a good environment to thrive, and if he works on a few areas of his game, the ceiling is sky-high.

With that said, this article is going to look into some of the areas where Fields must improve If he does want to hit that potential. It seems like everything in this world has to be so black and white that we cannot talk about where players can improve.

Yes, it may have been a mistake for so many teams to pass on Justin Fields. Yes, 10 teams, including three drafting quarterbacks, and at least three with questionable QB rooms passed on Justin Fields. While some people will tell you it is because all Ohio State QBs fail, that sounds insane, and any off-of-the-field questions are so tough to decipher without actual indications of what those may be. So, instead of believing in rumors or false narratives, and without assuming these GMs are complete morons, what could have made Justin Fields slide to pick 11?

5. Recognizing Delayed Blitzes

This one may actually be number one, but I wanted to get straight to It. This could be a legitimate concern with a lot of proof on video.

At first glance of Fields, you see a player who maneuvers the pocket well, and he typically does so long as what he thought was coming pressure-wise what came. The biggest issue he has is with delayed blitzes or layered blitzes.

He typically is aware of the first rush, but the second wave can catch him. Check out the play below against Alabama. The Tide twist upfront and the linebacker takes a second until Fields starts to progress his reads to blitz. Once Fields enters his read, he is not reading the blitz. As he sets to throw, the delayed blitz causes him to speed his process, and throw a bad pass.

Again, watch the slot, on 3rd down below. He gets the attention as a Blitzer, and times his blitz with the left inside linebacker. But, now look at the right inside linebacker. He sneaks around the OLs right side, and Fields takes a sack as he does not notice this pressure coming.

Again, in the play below the first player that rushes is Micah Parsons, the right inside linebacker. However, it is the safety that gets home when Fields is not accounting for him at all. Fields take a legitimate shot on this play, you can tell he had no idea it was coming.

There is more, and it is not just against Clemson, Penn State, and Ohio State. Here we see issues against Indiana. Two linebackers cross as they blitz which for the most part gets picked up. Fields is accounting for them, but he is not accounting for the blitzing safety who is coming in hot behind them. That safety gives Fields a shot, and eventually the play results in a sack.

Below is later in the game and almost the same exact blitz. The linebacker cross, the blitz gets picked up, but once again the safety seemed to be out of sight and out of mind for Justin Fields. The concern is not the blitz as much as the lack of feel and understanding of the environment surrounding him.

To be fair to Fields, they sent the house on this third-down pass. However, he has to know this is coming and have a hot read ready to go to. The fact that his first instinct is to turn his back and retreat is a bit worrisome as well. That often leads to making things worse, and it did in the play below.

However, as noted, this is a writer who thinks Fields has a lot of special talent, and while almost no QB can get away with turning his back to the defense like that, Russell Wilson, who was my comparison for Fields before the draft has a similar style where he improvises like that. He also still struggles reading the blitz in a similar manner but has found a way to get by.

The play below may look like what I am talking about when I compare him to Wilson. He is late to react to the blitzing corner off of the edge. Then, he spins towards the defensive lineman, but the play result is special. He has the speed to get away, he has the ability to flip his hips and throw an impressive pass rolling to his weak side.

Sometimes you have to take the bad with the good, but there is going to be a lot to take away from how Fields reads the blitz, and how he reacts to the blitz. There are other questions to his game as well.