Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence have lived different stories in college.
The two have been linked together since their high school days, and now they are in college and most likely the next level.
Their roots take them back to the Peach State of Georgia where both grew up. Throughout their time there, they attended the same camps and even had the same quarterback coach.
The top two recruiting class sites, ESPN 300 and 247 Sports, had them one-two with the same rating. ESPN had Fields at No. 1, and 247 Sports had Lawrence at No. 1.
So, why is this important to talk about? These two players are arguably the best that college has to offer and should be treated as such. There is not a single reason why Fields cannot be better and go No. 1 in the NFL Draft come April.
Back to why their college careers have been different. First, there is Lawrence who is a household name from Clemson and expected to go first in the draft.
Rumor around the league is he is a cannot miss prospect, and it’s understandably so. He has gone to the National Championship his first two years and has lost one game which was against LSU last season.
His stats are undeniable as he has had close to 9,000 yards passing and 97 total touchdowns. His 66.5 completion percentage and 14 interceptions through three seasons has also been impressive.
Lawrence no doubt is a cannot miss player that would make any team better, but Fields is better equipped for the modern game. The modern NFL is based upon deception more so than skill. What does this mean?
Modern playbooks have introduced run-pass options (RPO). The play allows the QB to determine based off of the positioning of the defense whether to hand the ball off or pass to a receiver. This system has been used by Fields since his high school days.
Fields has been just as impressive if not better in college as far as stats go. He has had a little north of 4,500 yards passing and 82 touchdowns. Fields’ 70.8 completion percentage and three interceptions are the stats to look at.
The best stat comes from this season so far. Fields is throwing 72 for 83 for an 86.7 completion percentage, 908 yards passing and 11 touchdowns with zero turnovers. He has more total touchdowns, which is 13, than incompletions. Fields does not look human since the start of the season.
One thing to keep in mind when comparing them is that Fields first committed to Georgia, where he played his first season, before transferring to Ohio State. Fields also has lost one game he stated in his career, and that was to Clemson in the National Semifinals last year.
Their pass attempts are skewed because of this where Lawrence leads 995 to 476. Let us forget how many games they have started. Lawrence has had 36 to Fields’ 17.
Here is the stat that is most telling, which is Heisman voting. They both only received votes last season with Fields earning 747 to 88 over Lawrence.
If Fields was starting his freshman year, would he be considered just as good as Lawrence? We will never know, but there is a possibility they are QB1A and QB1B.
The draft that is most comparable is the one from 2012. There was Andrew Luck, who was the consensus No. 1 pick, and there was Robert Griffin III, who was No. 2 pick but could have gone first.
The reason I pick them is based on their talent coming into the league. Luck is like Lawrence in that he is the field general. He has the football IQ that any team would want; someone that is years beyond some of the competition.
Griffin is a rusher and someone that could extend the play. If you take away the knee injury, he was a great player that first season. Fields is better, though. He is more accurate with his throws, and his running abilities do not define the player.
Once again, not saying that there is a comparison as far as talent, but rather how the draft was set-up. Fields and Lawrence could become better than Luck and almost as good as Griffin.
So, what should the teams do in the draft? If I were someone like the New York Jets, I would seriously consider trading out of No. 1. There are a couple reasons for that.
The first reason is that you could get a lot for Lawrence. There have been talks for the last two years “tank for Trevor.” A team, whether it is the Jets or someone else, could rebuild based off of a trade out of No. 1.
A team could trade down one or two picks and then pick up that team’s pick plus a first next year. Who does not want more draft stock, especially if it is a rebuild? There is also the possibility that a star player opens for a trade, and a team could still have a first-round pick.
Fields is just as good as Lawrence and has a realistic possibility of winning the Heisman. The talks need to cool down on Lawrence being the best college football player.
Hearts do go out to Lawrence as he recovers from COVID-19. Hopefully, he is able to get back on the field soon. In the meantime, sit back and watch what Fields has to offer.