28 Jul Preseason Scouting Notes: Tony Fields II, Transfer Portal
Senior | 6’1” 225 lbs | Las Vegas, NV
A rangy, undersized Will linebacker who profiles as a potential 4-down contributor, but will first need to add bulk
Tony Fields II came to Arizona as a 3-star recruit and immediately became an impact starter as a true freshman. He’s started 37 consecutive games since setting foot in Tucson, and decided to enter the transfer portal this summer since he’ll be immediately eligible to play for another team. Fields primarily lined up as the Will LB in Arizona’s hybrid 3-3-5/4-2-5 front last season, but would often be aligned on the edge as a blitzer or flat dropper.
– Shows great range in backside pursuit
– Sudden, explosive closing speed and short-area agility
– Navigates trash well. Works through traffic with relative ease while on the move due to his lateral agility and ability to get skinny and shimmy around blockers
– Violent, accurate hands help him creatively avoid blocks in the open field
– Gets physical with tight ends in coverage at the top of their routes
– Has the ideal range and mirror/match skills to be an effective coverage linebacker at the NFL level
– Hard-charging, experienced blitzer with a solid swim move and speed chop
Areas to improve:
– Stiff hips. Lack of hip flexibility shows up when asked to turn and run in coverage or turn the corner as a blitzer
– Struggles to disengage from blocks once an OL gets into his chest, primarily due to lack of length and play strength
– Questionable football instincts. Occasionally looks lost while diagnosing more complex offensive plays
– Lack of size/bulk can cause him to get washed back by OL. Not stout at the POA
– Coverage instincts and ball tracking skills need improvement. Has trouble getting his head around to locate the ball in coverage
– While he does well to wrap up ball carriers in tight quarters, his tendency to tackle below the strike zone leads to far too many missed tackles in the open field
Fields projects to be an early-to-mid Day 3 selection at this point, and should stick on a roster as a depth linebacker and core special teamer early in his career. Due to his lack of size and length, Fields will likely only be valued by teams that run a 4-3, which hurts his stock. As he adds play strength and improves his coverage acumen, Fields could eventually grow into a starting Will linebacker.
What to watch in 2020:
Without knowing which team Fields will suit up for, it’s difficult to determine what role he’ll be placed in. However, it would be in his best interest to join a team willing to hand him the reigns of the defense so that he can prove himself as a defensive signal caller. With Colin Schooler in the fold, Fields didn’t need to make the calls or be a primary communicator, so that piece of his game is unknown at this time. Most importantly, Fields needs to add play strength to become more stout at the point of attack and improve his block destruction. If he can add bulk and maintain his explosiveness, his stock could rise significantly.