In a class with all different types of hybrid and new-generation linebackers, Tony Fields II is a linebacker who is not getting talked about enough. Fields is more of a traditional middle linebacker who does everything fairly well. He’s a jack-of-all-trades linebacker who is looking at being picked between late day two and early day three. He’ll look to make an early impact in a classic middle linebacker role, although he’s experienced playing in some other sets.
Name: Tony Fields II
School: West Virginia
Weight: 225 lbs
Fields is one of the more interesting players in this class when it comes to instincts. He tends to start each play a little bit flat-footed but also recognizes the play extremely well. He seems to feel out the play before making the decision to attack. It’s a different style from the best linebackers in the league but it seems to work for him. However, this is not the most proper technique and if he could realize the play and get moving just a little bit quicker, he could be a force in this area.
Fields is a bit of an undersized linebacker, and this allows him to show very good range. Once he processes the play, he shows a very nice athletic ability to fly to the ball. He shows good pursuit angles pretty much anywhere he’s on the field and can always chase the ball carrier. Something really interesting is he knows how to use his range. He is super patient and doesn’t just shoot at the ball carrier and risk missing the tackle. Fields’ range will be very beneficial for him as soon as he comes into the NFL.
Run Defense (7.5/10)
Because of his great range and instincts, Fields gets an automatic boost in this area. He’s once again patient to feel out the play, which is a bonus for him. His size hurts him here though. If he has to face up with a pulling lineman, or really any lineman coming at him in the run game, it’s a bit of a problem. The size does not help him here at all and getting off blocks could be a problem in the league.
Fields is a superb tackler. There are very few misses on tape and he can wrap up nicely. He has shown some great hit power at times, but he’s not too known to lay guys out. He’s sound, clean, and safe with his tackling and this aspect of his game is basically all NFL teams could ask of him.
Fields is experienced dropping back in coverage, but he’s not very good in this area. He’s too flat-footed and doesn’t really understand the fundamentals of zone coverage. He does not filter routes well and just looks a bit confused at times. There have been some really nice flashes and even got an interception last season. Fields has also lined up in some man coverage but it hasn’t really gone well and should not be an area where he’s used in the NFL.
Fields was able to show his standout athleticism at his pro day in March. He ran a 4.50 40 yard dash, along with a 7.06 three-cone drill. This demonstrates his fluidity and free moving ability to a tee and it’s represented on the field. He also showed some nice leaping ability with a 34 inch vertical. He’s no Micah Parsons, but Fields is still an incredible athlete who is posting above-average numbers at the linebacker spot.
With a smaller frame, Fields can get low when used off the edge. He’s not great as a pass-rusher overall but has shown some nice bend when on the line, although it’s rather inconsistent. If he’s going to be used as a player who needs bend to succeed, he’ll have to improve in this area and get lower.
Fields has been used in a lot of different places in the West Virginia defense, especially outside linebacker. There have even been talks that he starts out on the outside but this transition doesn’t make a ton of sense. He routinely got handled by offensive tackles when rushing off the edge and it just doesn’t project too well for him. He will be best as a true middle-linebacker that can fit in any scheme.
Football IQ (7.5/10)
Fields shows some discrepancies with his IQ. In coverage, he doesn’t process plays too well. He is very smart when attacking the run game and excels more in this area. He’s an overall smart football player but has some things to work on with more film study.
Competitive Toughness (4.5/5)
Fields brings a ton of effort to his game. After transferring from Arizona to play one year at West Virginia, it’s easy to see his teammates respond to him and rally behind him. There have been a few instances when he’s been a little slow to get in the play but for the most part, he has great energy that NFL coaches will love to see.
Injury History (5/5)
Fields has no injury record besides when he’s made hits injuring other players. It just shows the power and tenacity he plays with.
A do it all linebacker, Fields brings some really promising traits to the table. Teams won’t have to worry about his tackling early on and he’ll bring nice range to any defense. His size will hurt him a bit and the concerns about his ability in zone coverage may hold him back from seeing the field in his first few years. Fields is more of a developmental linebacker that should be picked by teams looking towards the future at their linebacker spot.
Player Grade (77/100): Mid-Third Round
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