Bears select Ohio State QB Justin Fields with 11th NFL Draft pick

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Justin Fields

By Joseph G. Phillips, Crusader Sports Editor

With the 11th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears selected Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields on Thursday, April 29, on the ESPN Network.

According to SB Nation, the Bears have had few Black quarterbacks over their 100-plus year existence. Fields is only the second Black QB the franchise has ever drafted and the first since Vince Evans in 1977.

The Bears acquired Fields with the 11th overall selection after completing a trade with the New York Giants on Thursday night in Cleveland, Ohio. The trade allowed the Bears to receive New York’s 11th overall pick in exchange for Chicago’s 20th overall pick, its fifth-round pick (No. 164) and the Bears’ first- and fourth-round selections in 2022.

The 6-3, 227-pounder Fields comes to Chicago following a two-year stay in Columbus where he compiled a 20-2 record as a starter while completing 396-of-579 passing attempts for 5,373 yards with 63 touchdowns.

Fields earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors after both of his seasons as a Buckeye while leading Ohio State to two Big Ten Championships and two College Football Playoff appearances.

DRAFT NOTES

According to a Chicago Bears press release, Bears GM Ryan Pace has now made 12 draft-day trades in his tenure with the Bears: four coming in 2016, three in 2017, one in 2018 and 2019 and two in 2020. This marks the third time he has traded up in the first round, 2016 and 2017 being the others.

  • Fields was the fourth quarterback taken off the board in this year’s draft.
  • He is the sixth player from Ohio State to be drafted by the Bears in the first round and the first since DT Alonzo Spellman in 1992.
  • Fields’ selection at No. 11 represents Bears GM Ryan Pace’s first, first-round draft pick outside of the top-10.
  • Fields becomes just the third Ohio State quarterback in the Common Draft Era to be selected in the first round of an NFL draft, joining Art Schlichter (No. 4 overall pick in 1982) and Dwayne Haskins (No. 15 overall pick in 2019).
  • Fields is the 31st Buckeye to be selected by the Bears and the first since Marcus Freeman in 2009. He becomes the only Ohio State player on the Bears.
  • This is the fifth time in the Common Draft Era the Bears have traded up in the 1st round of the draft.

JUSTIN FIELDS OHIO STATE OVERVIEW (courtesy of Ohio State media relations):

  • Had one of the greatest statistical seasons in the history of Ohio State football as a first-year starter in 2019 when he completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,273 yards while accounting for 51 touchdowns (41 passing, 10 rushing).
  • Became the first quarterback in Big Ten history with 40 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs in the same season.
  • His 41-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio was the best in the country.
  • Had a passer efficiency rating of 181.43, which was third-best nationally.
  • Most Valuable Player of the Big Ten Championship Game after throwing for 299 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-21 come-from-behind victory over No. 8 Wisconsin.
  • One week prior, threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns in a 56-27 win at No. 10 Michigan.
  • Had several impressive national rankings: finished No. 3 in touchdown passes (41), total touchdowns (51) and passer efficiency (181.43) and No. 11 in completion percentage (.672).
  • In six games against teams ranked in the final College Football Playoff poll, accounted for 17 touchdowns and averaged 280 yards per game of total offense.
  • Named a “champion” by the Ohio State coaching staff nine times and was the Offensive Player of the Game following wins over Florida Atlantic, Indiana, Northwestern and Rutgers.
  • Accounted for multiple touchdowns in 13 of Ohio State’s 14 games.
  • Became just the third Ohio State quarterback in the last 50 years – Rex Kern and Craig Krenzel are the others – to win each of his first 13 games as the Buckeyes’ starting QB.
  • Member of the 2020 Davey O’Brien Award Preseason Watch List.
  • Enrolled at Ohio State in January of 2019 after spending his freshman season at the University of Georgia.

At the University of Georgia and Harrison High School

  • Played in 12 of 14 games as a true freshman for Georgia in 2018 and was named to the coaches’ freshman All-SEC Team.
  • Completed 27 of 39 passes for 328 yards and four TDs and also had four rushing touchdowns.
  • Was named the SEC freshman of the week on November 19 after passing for 121 yards, rushing for 100 and accounting for three touchdowns in a 66-27 win over UMass
  • A five-star prospect in the 2018 recruiting cycle by every major scouting service from Harrison High School under head coach Matt Dickmann.
  • Rated as the No. 2 overall player in the Class of 2018 and the nation’s top-ranked dual threat QB prospect.
  • Awarded MVP of the 2017 Elite 11 Quarterback Competition.
  • Totaled 4,187 passing yards, 41 passing touchdowns, 2,096 rushing yards and 28 rushing touchdowns in two years as a starter for Harrison.
  • Awarded 2018 Mr. Georgia Football by the Touchdown Club of Atlanta.
  • Named the 2017 Class 6A offensive player of the year by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and the Associated Press, in addition to being named first-team all-state by both publications.
  • Also played shortstop and second base for the Harrison varsity baseball team and was a highly touted baseball prospect with MLB draft potential.

More About Justin

  • Is the son of Gina Tobey, and Ivant “Pablo” and Jo Ann Claudrick Fields.
  • Has two younger sisters: Jaiden, a softball player at the University of Georgia, and Jessica.
  • Majored in consumer and family financial services.

Justin Fields’ Ohio State Career Passing Stats

YR G-GS ATT CMP INT PCT. YDS TD LG

2019 14-14 354 238 3 67.2 3,273 41 60

2020 8-8 225 158 6 70.2 2,100 22 65

Totals 22-22 579 396 9 68.4 5,373 63 65

Justin Fields’ Ohio State Rushing Stats

YR G-GS ATT YDS TD LG

2019 14-14 137 484 10 51

2020 8-8 81 383 5 44

Totals 22-22 218 867 15 51

Justin Fields’ Ohio State Total Offense Stats

YR G-GS RU PA TOT AVG

2019 14-14 484 3273 3757 268.4

2020 8-8 383 2100 2483 310.4

Totals 22-22 867 5373 6240 283.6

Joseph Phillips is a Chicago native, who has been a sportswriter for over 15 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. He can be reached at sports@chicagocrusader.com.

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