West Virginia linebacker Tony Fields II was the ninth pick of the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, going to the Cleveland Browns. He was the 153rd player selected in the draft overall.
The 6-foot, 222-pound Fields transferred to WVU prior to 2020 season, after spending the three previous years at Arizona, and immediately became a starter for the Mountaineers at middle linebacker.
Tony Fields II ROUND: 5 PICK: 9 OVERALL PICK: 153 TEAM: Cleveland Browns
In his one season at West Virginia, the Las Vegas native led the team in tackles with 88 stops over the course of nine games. He opted out of WVU’s Liberty Bowl appearance in order to get a head start on his preparations for his pro career.
Fields was a first-team all-Big 12 selection last year and also was named the conference’s defensive newcomer of the year.
During his pro day workout in Morgantown this spring, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 and had 17 reps of 225 on the bench press. He also clocked a 4.27 in the pro shuttle and a 7.06 in the 3-cone shuttle.
Tony Fields meets with the media live: https://t.co/kLopqsIfgd
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) May 1, 2021
Fields went to a Browns’ squad that has concentrated heavily on defense with its 2021 draft picks. Cleveland took Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome with its first-round selection (No. 26 overall) and then in round two it worked a deal move up in the draft order and select Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (6-1, 221 lbs.). The Browns went offense with its choice in round three (Auburn wide receiver Anthony Schwartz) and also their first pick in round four (Cincinnati offensive tackle James Hudson). They then went back to defense with their second round-four choice (Ohio State defensive tackle Tommy Togiai). It had two picks in round five, selecting Fields and then Georgia safety Rich LeCounte.
By taking two linebackers in the first five rounds, Cleveland obviously is trying to upgrade that unit, though it does have seven other ‘backers already on its roster. Malcolm Smith is the veteran of the bunch with 10 years of experience. Anthony Walker and Elijah Lee, a K-State grad, each have been in the NFL for five years, but none of the other Cleveland ‘backers have been in the league more than three years. Jacob Phillips, a third-round pick in 2020, started for the Browns at linebacker last year, as did Walker. Smith saw plenty of action for Cleveland in 2020as well. He’s bounced around to nine different NFL teams since behind a seventh-round draft choice of Seattle when coming out of USC in 2011.
The Browns finished the 2020 regular season with an 11-5 record and then defeated Pittsburgh in the AFC Wildcard Playoff Round, 48-37, before falling to Kansas City, 22-17, in the division semifinals.
Fields becomes only the second Mountaineer drafted by Cleveland in the last 60 years, as defensive back Charles Miller was a sixth-round pick by the Browns in 1975.