On a night full of surprises, the Chicago Bears provided theirs when they traded up to take quarterback Justin Fields with the No. 11 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Fields was projected as a potential top-10 pick, but when it was evident he was going to fall out of that range, the Bears traded their No. 20 selection with the New York Giants to snag the former Ohio State star.
>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<
“I’m the kind of guy that thinks that everything happens for a reason,” Fields told the Chicago media during a Zoom call Thursday night. “So I think this is God’s plan for me to be a Bear. I’m more than excited and I’m more than ready to get up there for sure.”
Blessed 🙏🏽 https://t.co/Sb2bBy2Y5f
— Justin Fields (@justnfields) April 30, 2021
The Bears traded up in 2017 to grab a quarterback, selecting Mitch Trubisky over future Super Bowl winner Patrick Mahomes. The Bears have since moved on from Trubisky and were set to open the 2021 season with fellow Christian quarterbacks Andy Dalton as the starter and Nick Foles as the backup.
That was, until Fields became available.
“We feel really fortunate we were able to get Justin [Fields],” Bears general manager Ryan Pace told reporters following the pick. “You could feel the excitement in our building.”
In Fields, the Bears are getting a player who went 20-2 as a starter at Ohio State and won two straight Big Ten championships. He threw for 5,373 yards with 63 touchdowns and just nine interceptions throughout his career, and led the Buckeyes to two straight appearances in the College Football Playoffs, including a runner-up finish during the 2020 season, in which he played through injury after a suffering a big hit from a Clemson defensive player in the semifinal game.
Fields was also named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-Big Ten selection both seasons he started for the Buckeyes.
Aside from the on-field accomplishments, the Bears are also getting a high-character player who puts his faith in God ahead of everything else.
“I feel like I was gifted by God and He’s given me a lot of talent,” Fields told Cleveland.com in October 2020. “It’s up to me to just use that skill and just get more and more skilled and really just work on my craft.”
Fields initially started his college career at Georgia, backing up fellow Christian quarterback Jake Fromm. He decided to transfer to Ohio State, where he could be the starter right away, and it became evident he would indeed become one of the more highly-sought-after quarterbacks in the 2021 class.
He announced his intent to enter the NFL draft shortly after his season ended in January and thanked God in the process.
“God blessed me with the greatest support system anyone could have,” Fields wrote. “My parents have sacrificed any and everything to put me in a position to follow my dreams. I can never truly repay them, but I hope I’ve made them proud; I will continue to strive daily to be a ‘light on the hill,’ as I was raised.”
A story in four parts.#BearsDraft | 🐻⬇️ pic.twitter.com/QfQ2cgSoYX
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) April 30, 2021
Fields will now be looked upon to bring the Bears back to the playoffs and make a run at a Super Bowl, something the franchise has not won since 1985. It lost to the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI.
Fields has played in plenty of big games in his career, and he said he’s ready to do whatever it takes to get the Bears back to the Super Bowl.
“The kind of player the Bears are getting is a versatile player,” Fields said Thursday, “a player that can make plays both with my arm and also with my legs and, of course, a smart player; a player that’s going to make smart decisions and a player that wants to win, that’s willing to do whatever to win. That, of course, is my No. 1 job, however that may be, whatever my position may be on the team.”
— Justin Fields enters NFL draft ‘thanks to God’s grace and mercy’
— QB Justin Fields leads Ohio State to CFP title game, gives glory to God
— ‘Faith-driven’ Trevor Lawrence selected No. 1 overall in NFL Draft by Jacksonville
— Trey Lance maintains his identity as a child of God as his NFL journey begins
— Family’s advice to NFL draft prospect Zech McPhearson: Keep God first