Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey – BYU Photo
There is no worse time for college football fans than the offseason. The NFL Playoffs can get you through the first couple weeks, but without allegiance to a basketball or baseball team the boredom will set in quickly. Fortunately, speculation and anxiety regarding the upcoming season tend to curb those feelings and push through an otherwise uneventful stretch. Among the most recognized forms of this speculation is the mock draft.
The mock draft game, while anybody can spend the time to craft one, is essentially monopolized by ESPN’s Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. Now, as a Barstool guy I generally like what McShay has to offer but he along with the rest of ESPN’s scouting department have lost their everliving minds.
In his most recent mock, McShay has Justin Fields slated to be the 4th (fourth) quarterback off the board, behind Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance.
Yep, you read that right, 4th…
At this point I’m not entirely sure that we watch the same games as these guys. Justin Fields came into the season as the 1b to Lawrence’s 1a and led his team to a National Championship game, yet his draft stock has fallen this drastically? Did I imagine Fields’ six touchdown and nearly 400 yard performance against Clemson when he had half of a hip? Now please show me anything remotely comparable that either of those other guys have done.
Trey Lance came into the year well behind Fields and has somehow jumped him after a mediocre (at best) showing against the powerhouse that is Central Arkansas? I get the guy has shown potential against FCS competition but if your knock against Fields is that he folds under pressure then would it not be fair to question Lance’s ability to shine against top level competition?
And don’t even get me started on Zach Wilson. BYU lost the only game in which they had against remotely solid competition in Coastal Carolina, and Wilson surely didn’t look special in that one. Pair the lackluster performance with reports that surfaced of him having “serious character issues” and being a “spoiled brat” then what in the world skyrocketed his stock?
As someone who’d love to see Fields succeed, I would be more than glad if he could end situated in a spot like Atlanta but there is absolutely no reason to rank Fields below Lance and Wilson on your big board. While the ranking does lack any semblance of supporting evidence, a scenario which places Fields later down the board could ultimately be best for his career. Not only would it place a chip on his shoulder, but it would also save him from the QB graveyard that is the New York Jets.
Nonetheless, do better ESPN.