When trying to project how Justin Fields will play as a pro, experts point to all different aspects of his game: his footwork, his throwing motion, his big arm and accuracy, and his ability to make plays on the fly when things breakdown. All of those things do help paint a picture of how Fields will perform when he finally plays on Sunday, but Pro Football Focus released a new data-based analysis which says Fields’ accuracy in college could portend good things for the new Bears quarterback.
PFF wrote on Monday that Fields is the most accurate college quarterback they’ve ever recorded in terms of completion percentage over expected (CPOE), since they began recording college data in 2014. CPOE measures the rate of “a quarterback’s accuracy based on the likelihood of them completing a pass in the given circumstances and whether they actually completed the pass.” It takes into account things like pass depth, pressure and target width. Most importantly, PFF data show a correlation between college CPOE and expected points added per play in the NFL.
Following Fields on PFF’s list of the Top-Five highest CPOE rates in college are Baker Mayfield, Mac Jones, Joe Burrow and Kyler Murray. While we still don’t know what Jones will bring to the table in New England, Mayfield, Burrow and Murray all appear to have what it takes to succeed in the NFL. That being said, it’s not a perfect metric to assess prospects coming out of college. Josh Allen ranks 16th in college CPOE, Patrick Mahomes is 17th, Justin Herbert is 20th and Lamar Jackson ranks 22nd. Meanwhile Mitchell Trubisky ranks eighth.
Regardless, PFF regards Fields as a rare QB prospect and says the Bears were “gifted” the opportunity to draft him at No. 11 overall.
No matter how you assess Fields, one thing is undeniable: he’s the most exciting quarterback prospect the team has had in decades.