It has become a tradition for the start of the NFL season to be preceded by several football-related programs, mainly HBO's hit series Hard Knocks, but perhaps the more telling show in recent years has been the NFL Top 100 list, a ranking of players as voted on by current players and coaches via a survey conducted by NFL Films and the NFL Network. This list is not the be-all-end-all of player rankings in the NFL, but it is a good indicator as to who around the league garners respect and admiration from their teammates and, more importantly, their opponents.
Chicago Bears QB, Justin Fields lands at #86 on Top 100 list
For Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields, this league-wide respect was earned quickly, and after just his second year as a pro (and his first as a full-time starter in a brand new offense), the former 11th overall pick finished the year as the league's 86th highest-ranked player. This selection makes Fields the first quarterback in franchise history to be added to the list (which started in 2011) and the highest-ranking offensive player for the Bears since 2015, where Matt Forte clocked in at #48.
The other big takeaway from Fields' selection is his relative positioning to another big-name quarterback from the 2021 NFL Draft, first-overall pick Trevor Lawrence. After leading the Jaguars to the playoffs, where they pulled off an unbelievable comeback against the Chargers, Lawrence still finished 10 spots behind Fields in the players' rankings.
This should not be taken as an indictment on Lawrence, but rather a testament to a strong draft class, where two of the top-selected quarterbacks were able to make the list after just two seasons in the league (both players had tough rookie seasons too, with Fields sitting part of his first year and Lawrence being trapped in an Urban Meyer-led Jacksonville team). Realistically, Lawrence and Fields will likely be the only signal callers from their draft class to make the list this time around, with Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, and Mac Jones all probably on the outside looking in.
It is hard to compare these two players, as they played completely different versions of the quarterback position in 2022, but it is not hard to see why Fields' ranking was a little higher than Lawrence's. While the Jaguars as a team had arguably more talent and certainly higher levels of team success, Fields was a one-man wrecking crew at times on offense despite the team only logging three wins on the year.