Justin Fields’ great college accuracy has to translate to the NFL level with the Chicago Bears.
According to PFF, Chicago Bears first-round pick Justin Fields was statistically the most accurate college quarterback they have ever graded.
PFF has only used their grading system on the college game like they do with the NFL since the 2015 NFL Draft class that saw Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota go one-two. One metric they have outlined is completion percentage over expected (CPOE). In layman’s terms, it is a metric that looks at all the circumstances that go into completing a pass, and if the quarterback completed it.
Of the 23 quarterbacks taken in the first round since 2015, Fields ranks first in CPOE at 0.12, ahead of Baker Mayfield (0.10), Mac Jones (0.9), Joe Burrow (0.9), Kyler Murray (0.9) and Tua Tagovailoa (0.9). Mayfield, Burrow and Murray have all exhibited traits of being an NFL franchise quarterback. Jones is a rookie and Tagovailoa only had a handful of starts during his rookie season.
But even if Fields was accurate in college, how sure are we that it will translate into the NFL?
Chicago Bears are hoping Justin Fields’ elite accuracy translates in the NFL
Fields’ colleague career was not without criticism. He did transfer from Georgia to Ohio State after his true freshman year. Fields did unfortunately get stereotyped into being a one-read quarterback who used his arm more than his legs, which was absolutely not the case. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist as a sophomore and quarterbacked the Buckeyes to back-to-back playoff berths.
So in terms of on-field talent, Fields has it all. There were so many reasons he was a five-star recruit coming out of his native Kennesaw, Georgia. With pinpoint accuracy and dual-threat playmaking abilities, he could be his generation’s version of Steve Young for all we know. But as for if he will prove to be this accurate professionally, Fields will have his work cut out for him.
While CPOE seems to have a pretty strong correlation towards NFL success, Fields is going to a franchise that has not had elite quarterback play in nearly a century. The Bears are notorious for running through quarterbacks, as the harsh northern wind has made accuracy an issue historically in Chicago. This is also the NFL and not the Big Ten’s best program carving up sorry cannon fodder.
Ultimately, Fields is not going to be as accurate in the NFL as he was in college. However, he should be more than accurate enough to succeed at the next level. These similar accuracy traits have allowed Mayfield and Murray to succeed coming out of the Air Raid, just as much as Burrow did coming out West Coast spread attack. Fields finds himself in great company with this trio.
Accuracy, as well as health and leadership, will shape Fields’ NFL future as the Bears quarterback.