By: Chip Turner
Tony Fields II – West Virginia
6’0” – 222 pounds
Tony Fields II is a force against the run; he transferred to West Virginia after three years at Arizona, and had an immediate impact on the Mountaineer defense. He reads run plays well, particularly draws and delayed runs; there are plenty of examples of him blowing up run plays as they’re developing behind the line of scrimmage. He’s savvy going up against O-Linemen; he lacks the physicality to shed blockers, but he has enough quickness and lateral agility to keep their hands off him a good amount of the time. While he’s not the strongest tackler, he doesn’t seem to get fooled often, tracking ball carriers through traffic and latching on. While he didn’t have a particularly impressive Pro Day, he turned plenty of heads during Senior Bowl week; he was named top LB on the National Team by his teammates.
Fields will need to get bigger and stronger to contribute in the NFL; when linemen get their hands on him, he’s simply not that effective. While he’s a force against the run, he currently lacks the pass coverage skills to be on the field full-time. In short, he seems to lack the size and speed to be a highly effective run stopper in the NFL, and doesn’t have the coverage skills to be effective as a hybrid safety.
There are NFL players who have intangibles that don’t show up in measurables or draft analysis. Fields is one of those guys. He’s a smart, instinctive kid with a nose for the ball, and he’s good as a chase-down LB against the run. From his measurables, he shouldn’t be as much of a pain in the ass for opposing offenses as he is. He’ll likely be drafted somewhere toward the middle to end of Day Three based on that alone, or even a little higher if someone fell in love with his motor and attitude.