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  1. #1
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    Zach Wilson vs. Justin Fields for QB2

    Since itís highly unlikely that we get Lawrence at this point, figured this topic will be heavily debated over the next 4 months. Itís obvious we need a new QB and Darnold is not going to be here.

    2021 NFL Draft: BYU's Zach Wilson or Ohio State's Justin Fields as QB2?

    After the New York JetsĎ improbable victory over the Los Angeles Rams, the 2021 NFL draft landscape shifted drastically. Everyone and their mother knows Trevor Lawrence is going No. 1 overall ó regardless of who is picking in that slot. Now with the Jets slated to pick second, however, the questions become: Who is the QB2, and are they good enough for the Jets to give up on Sam Darnold?

    The latter part is asinine, in my opinion. Although it will be framed as such, drafting another quarterback isnít ďgiving upĒ on a current one. With how valuable the quarterback position is, the Jets canít leave it up solely to the possibility that Darnold takes a massive leap forward (and then has to be paid as such). A franchise quarterback on a rookie deal is the single hottest commodity in football, and if a team is in a position to find one, they should do it.

    The first part of the question is more difficult to assess. Ohio Stateís Justin Fields has been the de facto QB2 ever since high school. He and Lawrence were part of the greatest quarterback recruiting class of all time; both Fields and Lawrence are still the third- and second-highest rated quarterback recruits, respectively, in 247Sports history (Vince Young being No. 1).

    That was, until this fall. Fields has still displayed the outstanding accuracy and mobility heís known for, but he's also already thrown out two stinkers against Indiana and Northwestern. Zach Wilson, on the other hand, came back from an injury-plagued 2019 (shoulder and hand) to light college football on fire this season, capped off by a dominant win over UCF last night. His lowest passing grade all year was a 75.4 mark against Houston Ö and he still went for 400 yards in the game.

    Is tearing up a bunch of Group of Five defenses good enough to get Wilson into a Jets jersey? Or should the Jets trust the off-the-charts production weíve seen from Fields in his Ohio State career? Letís go trait for trait to find an answer.

    ARM STRENGTH

    While we donít have any arm strength metrics here at PFF (yet), a good way to gauge how live an arm a quarterback possesses is by watching some of their farthest throws. My back-of-the-napkin math (and our ball placement charting) puts this as the longest throw of Fieldsí college career:

    https://media.pff.com/2020/12/Justin...ngestThrow.gif

    And this is the longest throw of Wilsonís career:

    https://media.pff.com/2020/12/ZachWi...ngestThrow.gif

    Fields' toss traveled in the neighborhood of 60 yards, while Wilsonís was closer to 65. Fields' throw was a little more on a line, though, meaning heís got more juice than that if he puts some air on it. When reviewing the rest of their tape, both have more than enough pop in their right arms for my liking. If I had to lean one way, Iíd go Wilson because of his ability to deliver strikes more often without his feet set, but this one is too close to pick out a serious advantage one way or the other.

    Advantage: Push

    ACCURACY

    These may very well be the two most accurate quarterbacks in the draft class. Fields ranks second in the country with only 12.0% of his passes deemed uncatchably off-target, while Wilson's 13.4% rate isnít far behind in fifth. When we limit it to only throws targeted 10-plus yards downfield, those standings flip; Wilson leads the country at 18.2%, and Fields sits fourth at 22.4%. Basically, these guys arenít missing a lot.

    If you want to break any sort of tie between the two, Fields has better accuracy numbers when including 2019. But the issues Wilson was dealing with that season ó shoulder and hand injuries ó are precisely the kind of injuries that would adversely affect accuracy. Youíre not going to complain about the ball placement each brings to the table.

    Advantage: Push

    DECISION-MAKING/TIMING/ANTICIPATION

    Alright, itís time to stop pushing. These traits all tend to go hand in hand, so I grouped them together. Letís call them ďoffensive mastery.Ē Who does the best job of getting the ball where it needs to go and timing when it needs to go there?

    Both signal-callers have been exceptional at protecting the football. Since the start of 2019, Wilson has only 19 turnover-worthy plays on 740 dropbacks, while Fields has 17 turnover-worthy plays on 684 dropbacks. You wonít find much difference in this regard.

    The biggest distinction between them lies within their timing and anticipation. While it shows up again and again on their respective tapes, I canít give you dozens of examples here to prove that point. One stat that sums it up very succinctly is how both deal with blitzes.

    With no blitz this season, Wilsonís average time to throw is 2.85 seconds (246 dropbacks) and Fieldsí is 3.07 seconds (107 dropbacks). When blitzed, Wilsonís average time to throw predictably drops to 2.74 seconds (119 dropbacks) and Fields' somehow increases to 3.21 seconds (103 dropbacks). Thatís an eternity ó and it's not exactly what you want to see from a top quarterback prospect.

    Fields is afforded a great deal of leeway with the Ohio State offensive line, his mobility and the talented receiving corps, but thatís not going to fly at the next level. The highest average time to throw of any NFL quarterback all season against the blitz is Josh Allen at 2.80 seconds. Fields simply has to speed up.

    Advantage: Wilson

    POCKET PRESENCE

    Itís important to note that Fields and Wilson have played behind elite offensive lines in their career. Thereís no Daniel Jones at Duke situation here, as each of Fields and Wilson was throwing out of cavernous pockets more often than not. Wilson has been under pressure 22.2% of the time this season, and Fields has seen pressure on 29.9% of the time.

    While both are terrific at maneuvering the pocket when faced with pressure, Fieldsí lethargic decision making also translates to him bringing undue pressure onto himself. On 227 dropbacks in six games, Fields himself has been charged with 16 pressures and five sacks. Wilson is no angel with his propensity to hold the ball, either, but heís been charged with only 10 pressures ó including five sacks ó on 389 dropbacks.

    Even when things were arguably going better for Fields in 2019, this was an issue. He was charged with 11 sacks on 457 dropbacks. Meanwhile, Fields has converted pressure to sacks 24.1% of the time over the past two seasons. That figure is 16.8% for Wilson. Even though that's not a massive gap, the concerning trend is that Fieldsí figure in 2020 alone is 28.6% while Wilsonís is 12.3%. Fields stagnating in this regard as Wilson continues to show improvement makes this an easy choice.

    Advantage: Wilson

    RUSHING ABILITY

    This one is not particularly close. Wilson can be an add-on in the run game ó and has averaged over two designed runs a game for BYU this season ó but heís not going to force defenses to prepare for his legs. Fields, on the other hand, can be a weapon. At 6-foot-3, 228 pounds, the Ohio State signal-caller is a poor manís Cam Newton with his running style.

    On only 49 carries this season, Fields has broken 18 tackles. That number was 20 on 114 carries last season. For his career, he has averaged 5.6 yards per designed run. I fully expect that to be a big part of his game in the NFL.

    Advantage: Fields

    PLAYS OUT OF STRUCTURE

    Winning from the pocket is still king, yet the ability for a quarterback to create on their own has grown en vogue over the past few years with the rise of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson into the elite tier of quarterbacks. Both Fields and Wilson tick this box in a big way. Fields often does his damage as a runner, where heís difficult to bring down in the pocket or in space.

    Wilson is uniquely capable of special throws outside the pocket and on the move. His 87.5 passing grade outside the pocket this season trails only Oklahomaís Spencer Rattler, and those are the only two quarterbacks over 80.0 in that regard. Throws like the one below have become Wilsonís calling card.


    This is a strength for both, but Wilson is special outside of structure.

    Advantage: Wilson

    BOTTOM LINE

    With the grading so exceptional between the two, thereís no performance gap to lean on in this evaluation. The difference is purely going to be in the eye of the beholder in terms of which traits one covets most.

    That being said, the only way Iíd go Fields over Wilson is if I had an offensive coordinator who needed a rushing threat at the quarterback position. Otherwise, Fields' issues with holding onto the ball combined with Wilsonís elite off-platform ability arm talent ultimately gives the BYU quarterback the nod.

    QB2: Wilson

  2. #2
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    Arm strength= Fields clearly.
    Accuracy= Fields, you like numbers go ahead and check them.
    Plays out of structure= Fields.
    Tougher competition= Fields.
    Played against pro level talent at CB= Fields.
    Multi-year producer= Fields.

    *You are right though, Wilson would be a better QB2.
    *Fields is a starting QB1.
    Last edited by MrX27; 12-24-2020 at 10:19 PM.

  3. #3
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    Name the last 1 year wonder QB from a non-power conference that excelled playing in the NFL?

    Well?

  4. #4
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    Zach Wilson vs. Justin Fields for QB2

    Quote Originally Posted by MrX27 View Post
    Name the last 1 year wonder QB from a non-power conference that excelled playing in the NFL?

    Well?
    Easy, Carson Wentz (before this season at least).

    Name one successful NFL QB from OSU?

    Well?

    HOF QB Steve Young came from BYU.

  5. #5
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    Also how exactly is Wilson a 1-year wonder anyway?

    Did he not produce well as a freshman QB?

    Last year was a wash due to injuries. You really think he wouldnít dominate again if he came back for his senior season?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungStuna View Post
    Easy, Carson Wentz (before this season at least).

    Name one successful NFL QB from OSU?

    Well?

    HOF QB Steve Young came from BYU.
    Lol......Steve Young, did he play under this HC?

    Wentz was having a great sophomore year when he missed time with a broken wrist.
    Wentz completed 64% 1,669 yards, 16 TDs, 2 ints, missed 6 games.
    Try again....Well?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrX27 View Post
    Lol......Steve Young, did he play under this HC?

    Wentz was having a great sophomore year when he missed time with a broken wrist.
    Wentz completed 64% 1,669 yards, 16 TDs, 2 ints, missed 6 games.
    Try again....Well?
    I assume you mean Wentzís senior season. The point is that Wentz did nothing before his junior season so he fits the criteria as a 1-year wonder (since Wilson is going to enter the NFL after his junior season). Coming back to play well as a senior isnít really all that impressive unless youíre Joe Burrow.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungStuna View Post
    I assume you mean Wentzís senior season. The point is that Wentz did nothing before his junior season so he fits the criteria as a 1-year wonder (since Wilson is going to enter the NFL after his junior season). Coming back to play well as a senior isnít really all that impressive unless youíre Joe Burrow.
    Wentz was not a 1 year wonder as having very good numbers the prior year before his last shows.

    Something Wilson can't claim.
    Last edited by MrX27; 12-25-2020 at 12:10 AM.

  9. #9
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    Zach Wilson vs. Justin Fields for QB2

    Quote Originally Posted by MrX27 View Post
    Wentz was not a 1 year wonder as having very good numbers the prior year before his last shows.

    Something Wilson can't claim.
    Wentz played 19 games and had 34 completed passes total in his Freshman and Sophomore seasons. So his Junior season would have been considered a 1-year wonder if he declared.

    https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb...n-wentz-1.html

    Not sure what youíre talking about here. His broken wrist occurred when he was a Senior.
    Last edited by YoungStuna; 12-25-2020 at 12:35 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungStuna View Post
    Wentz played 19 games and had 34 completed passes total in his Freshman and Sophomore seasons. So his Junior season would have been considered a 1-year wonder if he declared.

    https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb...n-wentz-1.html

    Not sure what youíre talking about here. His broken wrist occurred when he was a Senior.
    First of all you're the one that said he was a 1 year wonder.
    He wasn't.

    That settles that.

    Wilson better come out or he's going to end up like Matt Barkley and drop.
    Last edited by MrX27; 12-25-2020 at 02:14 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrX27 View Post
    First of all you're the one that said he was a 1 year wonder.
    He wasn't.

    That settles that.

    Wilson better come out or he's going to end up like Matt Barkley and drop.
    Wentz was a 1-year wonder as a Junior just like Wilson is now. Itís highly unlikely that Wilson would end up like Barkley if he came back to BYU next year. But itís definitely not worth the risk or the injury.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungStuna View Post
    Wentz was a 1-year wonder as a Junior just like Wilson is now. Itís highly unlikely that Wilson would end up like Barkley if he came back to BYU next year. But itís definitely not worth the risk or the injury.
    So your saying Wentz produced more than 1 year, so he was not a 1 year wonder.

    Wilson is.
    Done.

    Guess there's a reason no 1 year wonder from a non-power conference, like Wilson, has performed well in the modern NFL.

  13. #13
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    Penei Sewell

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry M View Post
    Penei Sewell
    Sewell in the 1st, Mac Jones in the 2nd?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrX27 View Post
    So your saying Wentz produced more than 1 year, so he was not a 1 year wonder.

    Wilson is.
    Done.

    Guess there's a reason no 1 year wonder from a non-power conference, like Wilson, has performed well in the modern NFL.
    Producing as a senior and beating up on kids isnít that impressive to me. Wentz could have easily made the jump to the NFL after his junior season. Itís extremely rare for a QB to stand out like this talent and performance-wise in a non-power conference like Wilson is doing. Itís pretty unprecedented.

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