ESPN's writer ranks Justin Fields surprisingly low in the sophomore QB ranking

Vince Carbonneau
June 20, 2022  (5:47)

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN made a ranking of the 6 sophomore starting QB we currently have in the NFL.

A group of six talented young QBs -- Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, Mac Jones and Davis Mills -- have much to prove but will help define the 2022 NFL season. That six players from one draft occupy nearly 20% of the NFL's starting quarterback jobs entering their second season is a rare occurrence.
This year's group enters 2022 brimming with optimism, but history says a few of them will eventually fall flat. So we surveyed a handful of NFL execs, scouts and coaches on which of the Year 2 quarterbacks are poised for a big year. Each ranked the quarterbacks 1-6, and what follows are the composite rankings based on 2022 expectations -- not career arc. That's an important distinction. Scheme, team fit and supporting cast are part of the criteria.

Justin Fields

Drafted: No. 11 overall

2021 stats: 10 starts, 1,870 passing yards, 7 TD passes, 10 interceptions, 26.4

Total QBR (420 rushing yards, 2 rushing TDs)

Yes, Fields' supporting cast is a concern for many around the league. It's usually the first thing brought up.

"God bless him and good luck," an AFC scout said. "Good thing he can make things happen on his own. Long road ahead."

Another scout said Fields' skill set is similar to Lance's -- but with a better intermediate-to-deep ball -- yet doesn't have the supporting cast to maximize his potential in the short term. It appears GM Ryan Poles is taking the long-term approach to building a winner, eschewing expensive short-term fixes in free agency to let the roster breathe. Several big-money contracts from the previous regime will be more manageable in 2023, when the Bears will have a stronger roster. That leaves the playmaking positions fairly thin for Fields, who enters a crucial Year 2. Additions Byron Pringle and third-round pick Velus Jones Jr. should help but aren't exactly No. 1 options alongside Darnell Mooney.

Regardless, I'm told the Bears are happy with Fields' development this offseason, with better mechanics (quicker release) and some improvement in throwing on the move. The Bears are excited for offensive coordinator Luke Getsy's system, which should give Fields more space to operate.

"They aren't going to be great, but he's got big-time ability," an NFC offensive coach said of Fields. "He'll be able to make plays."

Improved accuracy would also be huge for Fields, who threw seven interceptions over his final six games last season.
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