Could Justin Fields Walk into an Easier Situation than Lamar Jackson Did in 2018?

Published 04/20/2021, 7:30 AM EDT
Nov 1, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) celebrates after a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports


Picked as the 5th quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft, Heisman winner Lamar Jackson was roped in by the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens had the 32nd overall pick, the last of the 1st round that season. 

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Much like 2021, the 2018 draft class was full of promising young QBs. Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen were all in the mix and were drafted ahead of Jackson.

While the 4 quarterbacks have had varying success, none have achieved more than Jackson on a personal level. In 2019, Lamar Jackson was named the league MVP thanks for a jaw-dropping second season in the league.

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Many doubted Jackson before he even took a snap in the league. A position that 2021 QB prospect Justin Fields finds himself in as well. 

Ohio’s Justin Fields has shown that he has the tools needed to be an NFL QB. But many still doubt the player over his consistency and pass accuracy.

With talents like Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones and Trey Lance also in the draft, some predict Fields to go as the 5th QB in the upcoming draft. 

But how would that play out for Fields? Would he walk into a more comfortable position than Lamar Jackson did when he was drafted back in 2018?

Lamar Jackson and Baltimore, a match made in heaven 

When Lamar Jackson joined the Ravens, they weren’t in a bad place to start off with. The side had gone 9-7 the season before and finished 2nd in the AFC North.

Barely missing out on the Playoffs, Head Coach Jim Harbaugh had a team capable of making the postseason. And the introduction of Lamar Jackson was just what the side needed.

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Jan 10, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) scores a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans during the second quarter in a AFC Wild Card playoff game at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens knew that QB Joe Flacco was past his prime. With no pressure on Lamar to start each game, the QB steadily made himself comfortable in the league. 

And in 2019, with his dual-threat style suiting the Ravens’ plans, the QB rushed for 1,206 yards and recorded 36 touchdowns.

For Fields to find such a perfect match might be difficult. All 5 QBs in the 2021 draft class are expected to be roped in within the first 10 picks. 

And even if Fields happens to be the 5th quarterback to go off the board, he could find himself in a tricky position where he’ll have to work his way through a franchise rebuild. 

Jan 1, 2021; New Orleans, LA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) attempts a pass against the Clemson Tigers during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

This could be avoided though if the San Francisco 49ers end up drafting the QB. Kyle Shanahan’s system is one that would suit him.

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What’s more, the 49ers are in their winning window. With their last Super Bowl appearance coming in 2020, the franchise is ready to make a charge for the prize again.

Who do you think will end up drafting Justin Fields? And can he really become a potential franchise QB in the future?

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Shivayan Roy

605 articles

Shivayan Roy is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Roy functioned as a reporter for Goal.com and extensively covered the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

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