(CBS)- The Chicago Bears found what they hope to be their franchise quarterback on Thursday night and they did so with a bold move. The Bears traded up from No. 20 to No. 11 in the first round to select quarterback Justin Fields from Ohio State University.
Carlos Nelson, a community leader from the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, announced the pick.
CBS 2's Matt Zahn was among those who didn't think Fields would fall far enough for the Bears realistically to go after him - but he did, and they did.
Fields led his Buckeyes team to the National Championship Game in 2020, completing 70 percent of his passes for 2,100 yards and 22 touchdowns in just eight games during the shortened season. His shining moment came in the College Football Playoff Semifinal, throwing for 385 yards and six touchdowns while playing through an injury.
As a redshirt sophomore in 2019, Fields was dominant, throwing for 3,273 yards and 41 touchdowns against just three interceptions in leading the Buckeyes to a College Football Playoff appearance.
Fields finished third in the voting for the Heisman Trophy in 2019 and seventh in 2020 proving himself to be one of college football's top players.
NFL.com's Lance Zierlein praises Fields' dual-threat abilities and the toughness that he showed in the team's semifinal win over Clemson to reach the title game. As for the rest of his game, this is what Zierlein saw when he watched the tape.
"He sees the field fairly well inside the Buckeyes' quarterback-friendly offense but needs to become a full-field reader and prevent his eyes from becoming transfixed on primary targets. He sticks open throws with accuracy and velocity thanks to a sturdy platform and good drive mechanics. He's also comfortable throwing into intermediate holes of a zone. A slower operation time and a lack of a twitchy trigger will require him to work with better anticipation and pressure recognition pre- and post-snap. He takes more sacks than coaches will be comfortable with but he also digs his way out of holes and creates explosive plays. Fields operates with a quiet confidence and has experience overcoming adversity. He should continue to improve and become a solid NFL starter within a couple of seasons."
CBS 2's Zahn reported Fields said he had no idea the Bears were possibly going to draft him. He also mentioned he knows how much he wants to be great.
Fields touched on his ability to rise up in big games.
"I think the kind of player the Bears are getting is a versatile player; you know, 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," Fields said. "I feel like when big moments present themselves, I'll be like, you know, there's just another thing that kicks inside of me – but just, you know, I think capitalizing on big moments."
The full terms of the trade saw the Bears send pick 20 and 164 in this year's draft plus a first round pick and a fourth round pick in next year's draft.
After trading away their fifth round pick (164), the Bears still have six picks remaining in this year's NFL Draft. The second and third rounds of the draft are set for Friday night with rounds four through seven set for Saturday.
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