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Colts Rumored to Only Have Their Eyes on Ohio State QB Justin Fields Among the Draft’s Top QB Prospects

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

According to 107.5 The Fan’s ‘The Ride with JMV’ featuring radio host JMV, he’s heard from sources that the Indianapolis Colts so far only like Ohio State rookie passer Justin Fields among top rookie quarterback prospects in this year’s NFL Draft class (a group which presumably excludes consensus #1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence of Clemson from any realistic consideration right now for the Colts):

“The only name that I heard they like at the quarterback position in this draft is Justin Fields,” JMV said with fellow 107.5 guest Kevin Bowen. “That is the only one. And it would seem short of absolutely impossible to do that, and nobody else floats anybody’s boat.”

At 6’3”, 228 pounds, the starting junior quarterback completed 158 of 225 passing attempts (70.2%) for 2,100 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions during 8 starts for Ohio State this past season.

The Buckeyes star also amassed 383 rushing yards on 81 carries (4.7 ypc. avg.) and 5 rushing touchdowns on the ground during 2020.

Fields finished his standout Columbus career as a Heisman Trophy Finalist, 2nd Team All-American, 2x First-Team All-Big Ten Member, 2x Big Ten Champion, Big Ten Championship MVP, 2x Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year, and 2x Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year among his other prestigious collegiate accolades.

Of course, for the Colts, the cost to trade up into the Top 7 from Pick #21 to realistically select Fields will be exorbitant—presumably at least pick #21, a future first, and a second/third round pick (*roughly speaking*).

With the heavy draft capital given up, that’s the type of move that if Indianapolis trades up and whiffs on Fields, it could set the franchise back for a few years:

“The one position that you cannot (force), just all of you go back and look at first round quarterbacks drafted over the last 10 years,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard said in his end-of-season press conference. “It is not an exact (science), everyone just thinks you take one and you’re going to fix the problem.”

“Look, taking one will get you all off my ass for a little bit, but the second that guy doesn’t play well, I’m going to be the first one run out of the building.”

However, if Ballard and head coach Frank Reich are fully convinced that Fields is the future franchise quarterback for the next 15 years in Indianapolis—by all means, swing for the fences, and swing away:

“Again, if we could find a young guy, that’s always going to be our focus in the draft, get the guy you can build around for the next 15 years so to speak, that’s ideal,” said Colts team owner Jim Irsay earlier this week.

If Fields proves to be the long-term answer, the Colts would also maintain the luxury of having him on a cheaper rookie contract for the next handful of seasons, which could help the franchise upgrade the roster elsewhere and keep more core players around—improving their chances of Super Bowl contention in the short-term (even though there would assuredly be some initial growing pains for any young quarterback).

For what it’s worth, here’s the scouting report on Fields (via NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah):

“Fields has good size, excellent arm strength and remarkable athleticism for the quarterback position. He has produced monster numbers both passing and rushing in the Buckeyes’ spread system. He is at his best when he throws on time and in rhythm. The ball jumps out of his hand and he can deliver it accurately at all three levels. When the defense takes that initial target away, he’s had issues quickly aborting that opportunity, which has made him late on throws and also resulted in sacks. He has shown flashes of quickly getting deeper in his progressions (see: 2021 Sugar Bowl vs. Clemson), but that part of his game is still a work in progress. He’s dynamic as a runner. His first step is explosive and he pulls away from defenders with ease. He’s also incredibly tough, as evidenced by his performance after getting drilled in the semifinal game against the Tigers. Overall, I think Fields has a chance to be special, but it’s going to take some time for him to speed up his clock in the passing game.”

Here’s also what the draft experts are saying:

If he can continue to work through his progressions quicker, Fields has the arm talent, athleticism, and potential to be a star at the NFL quarterback position in time—but not without risk, given the Colts’ incredibly high cost to trade up to select him.

It just depends on the Colts’ degree of conviction and willingness to go all in for Fields.