Eagles and the Quarterback Market: Justin Fields

With Carson Wentz out of the picture, we will begin profiling QBs that the Eagles could take either in the first round or beyond. The series begins with the Buckeyes passer
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Carson Wentz is in the rearview mirror now.

It’s time to move on, and the Eagles already have, releasing DeSean Jackson on Friday.

That means we here at SI.com’s Eagle Maven will, too, and everyone loves a quarterback debate.

The Eagles just put one to rest, trading away Wentz on Thursday but opened up another one, and that is what the position will look like in 2021.

Jalen Hurts and … who?

There is already a belief that the Eagles will spend their sixth pick in this spring’s draft on a quarterback. Whether they do take on that high, no one can say for sure. they will, however, take a passer over the three-day over the course of the three-day draft, set to begin with the first round on April 29.

With that in mind, it doesn't hurt to know a little about what is out there, and that's the point of these QB profiles that we will do over the course of the next couple of weeks. 

So, let the debate begin.

The first profile is Justin Fields, only because he played at Ohio State, which means he played in the Big Ten Conference, which means he played in a conference not known for producing quarterbacks.

OK, Tom Brady played at Michigan and Drew Brees played at Purdue. Both of them were college slingers a very long time ago, and neither went in the first round.

Brady, as is well known by now, went in the sixth round, the 199th player taken overall.

Brees went in the second round but was the 32nd player taken overall.

Just two quarterbacks have been taken in the first round from the Big Ten since 1995 when Penn State’s Kerry Collins went fifth overall to the Carolina Panthers. The other was Dwayne Haskins, from Ohio State, who went 15th overall to Washington just two years ago and is already on his second team.

Mostly a journeyman, Collins played 17 years with six teams and had some good moments, such as becoming the New York Giants’ single-season record holder for most yards passing with 4,073 until Eli Manning broke it.

Collins finished with 40,922 yards passing and 208 touchdowns. Not bad.

You have to go back a long way, though, to find some of the best QBs to come out of the Big Ten, such as Len Dawson and Bob Griese, both from Purdue.

Now comes Fields. 

Can he break free from the stigma attached to a league that hasn’t produced superstar QBs in a very long time and change the narrative that says buyer beware when it comes to drafting a Big 10 quarterback in the first round?

Here’s more:

JUSTIN FIELDS

Size: 6-3, 233

Strengths: Very athletic and mobile with a sturdy frame. In two years with OSU, he played in 22 games and completed 68.3 percent of his throws. Carson Wentz by comparison completed just over 64 percent of his throws at North Dakota State.

Fields threw for 63 touchdowns and nine interceptions in his two seasons with the Buckeyes. He also played in a pro-style offense for head coach Ryan Day.

Weaknesses: Tony Pauline, of the Pro Football Network wrote,  “The main concern is that (he) stares down the primary target. He doesn’t look away from the primary target. He doesn’t process things as quickly as they want him to.

"During the Senior Bowl, I mentioned how there was one team who has broken down all of Justin Fields’ passes in 2020. They said that just seven times, he looked off the primary target. The other 200-plus passes he threw to his primary target.”

Fields is also prone to wild inconsistencies. 

Against Nebraska, Penn State, and Clemson he completed 87 percent of his throws with six touchdowns and no interceptions. Against Indiana he had three turnovers, in the Big 10 title game against Northwestern, he completed just 44 percent of his passes with two turnovers and completed 51.5 percent of his throws in the national title game against Alabama.

Pro day: March 30

Note: Fields could be the second quarterback off the board after Trevor Lawrence, so it’s unlikely he is there at No. 6. If the Eagles like him, they may have to try to move up to get him.

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.