Quarterbacks have won nine of the last 17 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Awards. None of the nine quarterbacks won the award for standing on the sideline, as Justin Fields will do (for now) with the Chicago Bears, general manager Ryan Pace said on Thursday night after selecting Fields with the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
“Andy [Dalton] is our starter, and we’re going to have a really good plan in place to develop Justin [Fields],” Pace said of Dalton, whom they signed to a one-year, $10-million deal in March. If Dalton remains the starter throughout the season, Fields won’t become the second Bears’ player to win Offensive Rookie of the Year (Anthony Thomas, 2001).
Pace’s comments, nor the selection itself, altered Fields’ Rookie of the Year odds. Entering the first round, Fields was +350 to become Ohio State’s first Offensive Rookie of the Year since 1995 (Eddie George) but their fifth on either side of the ball since 2016; four former Buckeyes won Defensive Rookie of the Year from 2016-20. And after the first round, Fields was still +350, sitting behind only Trevor Lawrence, one of three quarterbacks drafted ahead of him.
“I’ve gone through situations where I haven’t been chosen, and I think the world has seen the outcome of that,” Fields said after the draft, referencing Georgia’s decision to start Jake Fromm over him in 2018, prompting a transfer to Ohio State.
As of Friday, April 30, prior to the second round of the draft, Fields is ahead of two quarterbacks selected ahead of him – Zach Wilson and Trey Lance – and everyone else not named Trevor Lawrence: