49ers NFL Draft: 3 reasons to fall in love with Justin Fields

Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Justin Fields, Ohio State Buckeyes
Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

No. 3: 49ers will love Justin Fields’ movement skills, speed

Kyle Shanahan might be one of the holdovers from the increasingly archaic notion of non-mobile quarterbacks.

True, accuracy and ball placement are two necessary traits for success. But that third element, mobile-quarterback speed, is something Shanahan hasn’t exactly had since his days as Washington’s offensive coordinator with the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year, quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Justin Fields has that speed element, demonstrated both by his pro-day 40-yard time and his notable rushing efforts, particularly his last two years at Ohio State:

Justin Fields Rushing & Receiving Table
Rushing Receiving Scrimmage
Year School Conf Class Pos G Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2018 Georgia SEC FR QB 12 42 266 6.3 4 1 -10 -10.0 0 43 256 6.0 4
*2019 Ohio State Big Ten SO QB 14 137 484 3.5 10 0 0 0 137 484 3.5 10
*2020 Ohio State Big Ten JR QB 8 81 383 4.7 5 0 0 0 81 383 4.7 5
Career Overall 260 1133 4.4 19 1 -10 -10.0 0 261 1123 4.3 19
Georgia 42 266 6.3 4 1 -10 -10.0 0 43 256 6.0 4
Ohio State 218 867 4.0 15 0 0 0 218 867 4.0 15

Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
Generated 4/1/2021.

That, on top of a sub-4.50 40-yard time at his pro day? Yeah.

The 6-foot-3, 228-pound Fields is built well enough to absorb the rigors of being a rushing quarterback likely to be hit just a few more times than those who traditionally stand in the pocket and rely on their blockers.

But the good news is Fields doesn’t just rely on his rushing abilities when his first option isn’t there.

Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline broke down why:

"Big-armed passer with the ability to make all the throws. Patient in the pocket, keeps his eyes downfield, and takes the safe underneath outlet if nothing else is available. Sells ball fakes, remains poised under the rush, and buys as much time as necessary for receivers. Elusive, keeps plays alive, and easily gets outside the box to elude pass rushers and make the throw on the move."

A big takeaway from all this? Fields’ patience.

Sometimes, this can lead to problems. Fields has a tendency to hold onto the ball too long and will take unnecessary sacks. But still, a less-patient quarterback would use scrambling abilities if the first option isn’t there. This isn’t the case with Fields, who uses his movement skills to buy time first, then take advantage of rushing opportunities if it’s more of a last resort.

With the 49ers’ reliance on bootlegs and play action, it’s not hard to find the scheme fit within Shanahan’s offense.

Leading to our next reason why Niners fans should be thrilled if Fields is the pick.