Two Ohio State receivers can dream of a Justin Fields reunion
Garrett Wilson figures to be drafted long before the Bears go to the podium with their first selection. His Ohio State teammate Chris Olave might be, too.
INDIANAPOLIS — Wide receiver Garrett Wilson figures to be drafted long before the Bears go to the podium with their first selection — the seventh pick of Round 2 — next month. His Ohio State teammate Chris Olave might be gone, too.
But they can still dream of a reunion with Justin Fields, their former college quarterback.
“If that would happen, that would be awesome,” Wilson, who caught 70 passes for 1,058 yards last year, said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I haven’t really thought about where I’d be playing. Anywhere would be a blessing. Definitely to link back up with Justin at the NFL level would be a dream come true, for sure.”
Wilson is expected to be chosen in the first half of the first round. Olave, who caught 65 passes for 936 yards last year, could go late in the first. The Bears, though, traded this year’s first-round pick as part of a package to move up and pick Fields last year.
“Justin is a great player, a great dude, and I can’t wait to see his career take off,” Olave said. ‘‘Having him in college as my quarterback, I know what he can do on and off the field. And I know how hard he works. I feel like we’re very similar in ways, and I feel like we could complement each other if we do end up on the same team.”
Two second-year quarterbacks relied on former college teammates last year: former LSU QB Joe Burrow combined with Ja’Marr Chase for 1,455 yards with the Bengals and ex-Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa connected with Jaylen Waddle for 1,015 yards with the Dolphins.
Wilson praised Fields’ leadership — he was a captain in 2020.
“He’s really a special dude,” Wilson said. “Special on the field, as well. But what he did off the field, all of that was real.”
Lovie: Illini experience helps
One of the few good things about the situation former Bears coach Lovie Smith inherited when the Texans hired him is that the team has four draft picks in the first three rounds next month. And Smith, after his five seasons coaching Illinois, thinks he has an inside track on plenty of prospects.
“One good thing about my time in college is we interviewed and recruited a lot of these guys,” Smith said. “I have a head start on some of that.”
Smith had a nine-year run with the Bears and has the third-best record (81-63) among coaches who lasted at least 50 games. After going 8-24 with the Buccaneers after that and 17-39 with the Illini, it seemed unlikely he’d get another head-coaching opportunity.
Uncertainty about quarterback Deshaun Watson is one of many issues he faces in Houston. Watson, who wants to be traded, is facing 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct and could be charged criminally, as well. Smith had “no idea” if Watson will be on the Texans this season.
“Deshaun is an excellent football player; excellent football players need to be playing somewhere in the NFL,” Smith said. “Hopefully that will happen. If it’s not with us, somewhere else. . . . I just can’t wait for [a resolution] to speed up a little bit.”