The Chicago Bears saw a chance to solve their long-running quarterback problem and pounced, trading up to select Justin Fields with the 11th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

The Bears moved up from the 20th spot, trading with the New York Giants for the opportunity to take the former Ohio State QB. 

Last month, Chicago signed veteran  Andy Dalton to a one-year deal, and Nick Foles also is under contract for 2021, but now the Bears have their quarterback of the future. 

After failing to unseat Jake Fromm as the starter under center at the University of Georgia in his freshman year in 2018, Fields transferred to Ohio State.

An outstanding sophomore season saw Fields finish as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy having thrown for 3,273 yards, 41 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

He added 22 scores over eight games last year to finish his college career with 5,701 yards and 67 TDs through the air.

Fields, a dual-threat QB, also had 1,539 rushing yards and 19 further TDs on 260 carries, including 10 scores in 2019.

The 22-year-old was initially pegged as the second quarterback in this draft behind Trevor Lawrence, for whom the first pick had long been reserved.

But debate around Fields' ability – of perceived lack of – to process quickly, reading the field and moving on from his first progression, saw his reputation take a hit.

Fields actually had an average snap-to-release time of 2.81 seconds in 2020, though, marginally faster than second overall pick Zach Wilson (2.82), who was praised for being able to get the ball out quickly and accurately.

Indeed, Fields threw just 16 pickable passes in 556 attempts for a competitive percentage of 2.88 over the course of the past two seasons.

And the number 11 pick should give Chicago a new dimension with his outstanding downfield passing.

Of Power 5 passers with at least 200 throws who averaged 10 or more air yards per attempt last season, Fields' well-thrown percentage – which measures how often throws are an accurate, well-thrown ball – of 80.18 was second only to Sam Howell of North Carolina (81.31).

LeBron James and Patrick Mahomes were among the stars to wax lyrical over DeVonta Smith, who said Alabama "finished writing our story" in the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Heisman trophy winner Smith was in sensational form at Hard Rock Stadium in top-ranked Alabama's (13-0) 52-24 rout of Ohio State (7-1) on Monday.

The exciting wide receiver, who is NFL bound for the 2021 season, had 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half as Alabama claimed a 35-17 lead at the interval.

The 22-year-old recorded 200-plus receiving yards and three or more touchdown catches for the third time this season, tying Davante Adams (2013) for the most such games by any FBS player in the last 25 seasons, according to Stats Perform.

Smith also broke the South Eastern Conference's single-season receiving yards record as he was named Offensive Most Valuable Player.

What was most impressive is the fact Smith missed the majority of the second half with a right hand injury, though he said after the game "I'll be alright" when asked about the issue.

Speaking about the achievement, in quotes reported by ESPN, Smith said: "It came down to the young guys just putting in the work, every day, every week, knowing if somebody went down, they were going to have to come in and do something big. 

"I believed in them from the jump. That's what we do, that is why you come to Bama.

"Just with COVID and everything going on it made things tough, made us more together as a team, be there for each other. This team is like no other.

"It's been an unbelievable [season]. We just finished writing our story, that was the whole thing of us coming back, just finishing the story that we wanted to write and we did that."

Social media was abuzz watching Smith's performance, with Los Angeles Lakers superstar James hailing the youngster on Twitter.

"DeVonte Smith is one of the best pure receivers I've ever watched! Like a mix between Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. Man he's good!" James wrote.

Mahomes, who led the Kansas City Chiefs to Super Bowl glory last season, merely posted: "Lol they just need to put like everybody on him".

After seeing his record tied, Adams joked: "From now on if u misspell my name make sure it’s Devonta cuz he that boy."

J.J. Watt added: "DeVonta is going crazyyyyyy!!!!!!!"

The win saw head coach Nick Saban win a seventh college title, surpassing Paul Bryant for the most national championships, with six of those titles coming during his 14 seasons at the helm of Alabama.

Nick Saban stands alone as the most successful head coach in college football history after claiming a record seventh title following Alabama's 52-24 rout of Ohio State.

Top-ranked Alabama (13-0) were too strong for number three Ohio State (7-1) in Monday's College Football Playoff National Championship at Hard Rock Stadium.

Saban – who celebrated his first crown in 2003 – surpassed Paul Bryant for the most national championships, with six of those titles coming during his 14 seasons at the helm of Alabama.

"I'm just happy we won tonight," the 68-year-old said amid the celebrations post-game. "And I really haven't thought about that 'cause you're always looking forward.

"And I just love this team so much and what they've been able to do. I can't put it into words."

Saban added: "To me this is the ultimate team. There is more togetherness on this team than on almost any team we've ever had. They've had to overcome and to persevere so much through this season, and they have done it magnificently."

Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith flexed his muscles in a stellar display in Miami Gardens, Florida before suffering a hand injury in the third quarter.

Smith – in his final college appearance as he prepares for the NFL – had 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half as Alabama claimed a 35-17 lead at the interval.

Th 22-year-old recorded 200-plus receiving yards and three-plus touchdown catches for the third time this season, tying Davante Adams (2013) for the most such games by any FBS player in any of the last 25 seasons, according to Stats Perform.

Smith also broke the South Eastern Conference's single-season receiving yards record as he was named Offensive Most Valuable Player.

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones also dazzled, becoming the first QB to complete 80.0-plus per cent of his passes for 450-plus yards and five-plus touchdowns in a bowl game since NC State's Philip Rivers in 2003.

Jones finished 36-of-45 passing for 464 yards, five TDs and no interceptions, while Ohio State counterpart Justin Field was 17 of 33 for 194 yards and a TD.

Trevor Lawrence insisted he was "finishing with no regrets" after Clemson lost in the College Football Playoff semifinal.

Clemson quarterback Lawrence is now expected to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft, where he will be the presumptive number one overall pick.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are in possession of the first selection and are almost certain to use it on Lawrence, who has been labelled the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck.

Some analysts have gone further back to compare his draft stock with John Elway, who was picked first by the Denver Broncos in 1983.

There was no glorious conclusion to Lawrence's college career, though, as Clemson went down to a surprise 49-28 loss to Ohio State in New Orleans.

Lawrence was 33-of-48 as he threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns but also committed two turnovers.

He was also restricted as a rushing threat, held to minus eight yards on the ground a year after going for a career-best 107 yards in the playoff victory over Ohio State at the same stage.

"Ohio State played one heck of a game, I have got to give it to them - they kicked our butts," said Lawrence.

"I'm just finishing with no regrets. Obviously [the game] didn't go well, but I know that the way I prepared, the way this team prepared and then just this whole year, the way we have carried ourselves, I'm proud of it. 

"I don't have any regrets. There is not much I would go back and change."

Two-time Heisman Trophy finalist Lawrence had 34 wins for Clemson in 36 starts, winning a National Championship as a freshman as well as three ACC titles.

His only other loss was to Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers in last year's National Championship game.

Lawrence would not give immediate confirmation he would declare for the draft, saying he would digest the loss and spend time with family before revealing his plans.

But he added: "I'm sure there will be some information that will come out here soon."

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