Chicago Bears: Justin Fields ranked near bottom of NFL quarterbacks

Chicago Bears (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Bears (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports) /

The talking point for the Chicago Bears this offseason has been the new franchise quarterback, Justin Fields. General Manager Ryan Pace shocked the NFL when he traded up nine picks to select the dual-threat quarterback at 11th overall. Although he isn’t expected to start immediately, it seems that Pro Football Focus expects him to be the starter this season.

Matt Nagy has said multiple times that Andy Dalton is the starter. He has said he can’t control the future and that anything can happen, but he said that Dalton is the guy. That could change if Fields shows a thing or two in training camp, and for all we know, Nagy could just be using “coach speak.” It would be hard for Nagy to win a fanbase back again though by benching the uber-talented quarterback.

Pro Football Focus doesn’t have much faith in the Chicago Bears

Brad Gradkowski of Pro Football Focus released an article a few days ago highlighting the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL and ranking them accordingly. In the article, Gradkowski had Justin Fields slotted in at 25th. Here’s what he had to say about the former Buckeye quarterback.

"25. JUSTIN FIELDS, CHICAGO BEARSJustin Fields was the only quarterback in college football to rank in the top 10 in both passing and rushing grade. While Fields’ rushing ability will certainly help at the next level, it’s his downfield accuracy that could make him special — he had the highest accuracy rate on passes thrown 10 or more yards downfield (65%) in 2020.The Bears put up just 40 passing touchdowns on 10-plus-yard throws during the Trubisky era (30th in the NFL). It will be interesting to see how Matt Nagy and his staff utilize Fields’ skill set. The rookie will have to play quicker and more decisive at the next level because he needs space to release the ball and the pocket collapses a lot faster and tighter in the NFL."

Although Gradkowski isn’t too high on Fields for 2021, he did have a lot of good things to say about the rookie. He highlighted his ability to run the ball and his downfield accuracy, he more so knocked the Bears passing scheme than he did knock Fields. It sounds like he doesn’t have faith in Nagy to use Fields correctly, which is a fair belief.

In comparison to the 2021 rookie quarterbacks, Fields ranked four spots below Trevor Lawrence (21) and five spots above Zach Wilson (30). Mac Jones was not ranked as Cam Newton was, who was also below Fields (27).

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Gradkowski’s concerns regarding Fields for 2021 are very valid. Tempering our expectations is much needed as rarely do rookie quarterbacks light it up in their first season. For all we know, Fields isn’t even starting yet. The bigger picture is what we see and it may take a season of being average before Fields is ready to be in the top-five discussion that we all see for him. The long-term goal though is to develop him correctly and give him help for years to come.