On the latest episode of the Cris Collinsworth Podcast, Richard Sherman and Tre White analyzed some of the best cornerbacks and quarterbacks in the upcoming NFL Draft. When it came time to talk about what the San Francisco 49ers would do at the No. 3 pick, both All-Pro players said the Niners would take QB Justin Fields from Ohio State.
White said Fields is the best option when referencing his physical gifts. Sherman, as he always does, gave a fascinating answer:
I think people are missing the big picture. They’ve had a great discussion about black quarterbacks and how they’re a bit stereotyped. ‘They are not the workers. They are athletic. They are this. They are that. And that’s where Justin Fields gets pigeonholed.
He’s literally the most efficient quarterback, if not one of the most efficient in the draft. I think he was completing 70% of his passes. It has similarities to what Jimmy does. Jimmy G is a very efficient quarterback. You will have a high completion percentage. He will take the ball to its places. You are going to move the ball across the field. It is really smart. He has a great command of Kyle’s offense. It is really amazing to see it.
I still think he will be the starting quarterback on Day 1 for San Francisco. They have a chance at a Super Bowl this year. They have a Super Bowl capable roster, which is obvious. He’s already taken one of them.
But I think Justin Fields is the one, even without his athleticism. If you take it as a standalone pocket pin. Your efficiency and completion percentage and what you are capable of doing week after week. He is a winner. He has been in a program that competes at a high level year after year. Always in the championships and always in the big games. And he has played well.
I think his athleticism adds another layer of elite skill that makes him a difference maker. He has also typecast him, since he is not referred to as the first selection. Nothing against Trevor Lawrence or Zach Wilson, but I think there is an implicit bias that is holding him back.
Sherman belongs to television. This is the kind of analysis from soccer fans like you, and from which I could learn. We don’t get this kind of depth from your everyday analyst.
It’s no secret that Fields is a popular choice among the 49ers fan base. It’s QB1b for my money and for many of the reasons Sherman mentioned. The point that I liked the most was that Fields would continue to be the most talented quarterback based on his performance in the pocket. If we all say that Shanahan craves pocket-size precision and mobility, Fields is the choice.
As for questions about him off the field, check out this story from Mark Sánchez:
If Fields has an otherworldly retirement, then it will be even more difficult for the 49ers to pass on his skill set.
I’m curious how long before we hear that the 49ers are interested in Fields or another of the best quarterbacks. The cycle will move from Mac Jones eventually.
Collinsworth added that Fields would give the Niners offense a different dimension with his legs. Now the offense could use Fields in bootlegs, and even if there is a defender there, Collinsworth believes that Fields will not be tackled by a second-tier defender in the outfield:
That’s 53 one⁄two yards you have to cover now. It’s been hard enough to stop that offense as it was. Add that quarterback / edge and running back defender. That is a lot to defend.
Sherman referenced how Washington’s offense took the league by storm with RGIII and the zone read:
“You didn’t know where the ball was going. He’s making fast passes. He was running. He was staying. But it is in the pocket, when the game breaks, when the game is not there. And, if you’re not spying on him, it will be crazy.
And the offensive line is great, but now you have to add that element of pause in that division. The NFC West is just a mobile quarterback division. If you select Justin Fields, and he ever comes on the field and plays after Jimmy plays another ten years or whatever he does, I think he changes the dynamic and adds a dynamic to Kyle’s offense that is necessary.
The passing race now has to stop. The bombings have to slow down. Now you have to get there. Because if you don’t get there, he will get through your defense in a way that will get ugly. “
Sherm plays a bit of the PR role protecting his former teammate, but you can get an idea of what Fields would do on this offense.
They continue with Fields and some criticism around 25 minutes. Fields aggression is a good thing to me and Shanahan appreciates it. When you are physically superior, you tend to rely too much on your gifts. Fields tends to bet everything on every spin rather than making a small profit. If Fields is the choice, and Kyle can make his young quarterback understand that you can’t be a superhero on every play, we are talking about a special and special combo.