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#pounditSunday, February 5, 2023

Broncos passed on Justin Fields because of epilepsy concerns?

Justin Fields

Justin Fields has looked like a legitimate franchise quarterback in training camp for the Chicago Bears so far, which has raised questions about why some teams passed on drafting him.

Fields was the fourth quarterback off the board when the Chicago Bears traded up to take him 11th overall in April. Among the teams that passed on him were the Denver Broncos, who have instead opted to have Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater battle for the starting job.

In a recent episode of the “You Pod To Win The Game” podcast, Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson said that a source told him the Broncos passed on Fields over concerns about his epilepsy.

“When I went through Denver, had a chance to have a really long conversation with someone about Fields,” Robinson said. “He said, look, it wasn’t the talent. We really liked the talent a lot. It was the medical. The epilepsy, it was controlled at Ohio State, but the concern is the amount of risk that is there the day you draft him versus what’s there ten years down the line is the same. It never dissipates.

“There’s no way to change what the element of risk is in terms of, we’re sitting there asking ourselves, what happens if we have a season where he goes through a David Carr-type season and gets sacked 90 times? What if he just gets destroyed? They had to go through the worst case scenarios and they could not come up with a way in their minds, some fashion to mitigate the risk long-term with him.”

Fields disclosed his epilepsy to NFL teams prior to the draft, saying it had never been a problem at Ohio State and he did not expect that to change. It sounds like this wasn’t a problem for most teams, but it was enough to get the Broncos to shy away. They picked defensive back Patrick Surtain II instead. The Bears may end up being the beneficiary of Denver’s uncertainty given how well Fields is doing in camp so far.

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