How the Chicago Bears capitalized on the missteps of the 49ers, Panthers, and Jets. And drafted Justin Fields at #11 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.
In the high-stakes world of the NFL Draft, one team’s oversight can become another team’s jackpot. The Chicago Bears, having secured Justin Fields as their quarterback, are living proof of this adage. While other teams were swayed by rumors, distracted by hype, or simply missed the mark, the Bears made a move that could define their franchise for years to come.
The San Francisco 49ers, with their eyes set on the future, took a gamble on Trey Lance. They believed the hype, they bought into the potential, and they envisioned Lance as their next big thing. Fast forward, and Trey Lance finds himself traded to the Cowboys. Did the 49ers overanalyze? Were they too enamored with the unproven potential and missed out on the proven talent? Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure: the Bears aren’t complaining. I do think at some point we will find out whose idea it was to draft Lance over Fields — the GM or the coach.
Then there’s the New York Jets. In a move that left me scratching my head, they went all-in on Zach Wilson. While every draft pick is a gamble, this one seemed particularly risky–and stupid. The Jets, in their quest for a franchise quarterback, overlooked a gem in Fields. Sure, they are making up for it with Aaron Rodgers, but that’s a short-term fix. Fields on the other hand is the short, medium, and long-term gain.
But perhaps the most baffling narrative surrounding the draft was the rumor about Justin Fields’ work ethic. Whispers in the football community suggested that Fields didn’t put in the work and that he lacked the drive. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Anyone doubting Fields’ ability need only talk to his teammates, coaches, or sister. They would have told you a different story. And then there’s the concern that he was simply a running quarterback. Clearly, they missed the game tape of his masterclass performance against Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal game. The highlights speak for themselves: Fields is a runner, he is a passer, and he is a weapon that leaves defensive coordinators guessing.
Now, the Bears find themselves with a quarterback who is not only talented but also has a chip on his shoulder. Fields is out to prove the doubters wrong, and early indications suggest he’s doing just that. He’s dynamic, he’s driven, and he has the potential to be an MVP contender.
Yet, despite all the evidence, there are still whispers of doubt. Some still question whether Fields is the future of the Bears. To them, we say: “don’t swing and miss, especially not your second time“.
Fields is more than just “that guy.” He’s THE guy.
The Bears, having benefited from the miscalculations of other teams, have no reason to look back. They don’t owe anyone an explanation, and they certainly don’t need to apologize. In the unpredictable world of the NFL, they’ve secured a ridiculous talent in Justin Fields. And for that, the future looks bright in Chicago.
More content: How about a podcast interview with Justin Fields’ sister, Jaiden Fields.