Bears quarterback Justin Fields emerged as one of the league's most electrifying players last season - and that was in less-than-ideal circumstances. He became a weekly highlight reel that left fans, analysts and players alike impressed.
"I mean … that dude is an absolute beast," former NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski told NBC Sports Chicago.
Fields made waves with his elite speed and athleticism and established himself as one of the NFL's best running quarterbacks. Fields rushed for 1,143 yards, falling just 64 yards shy of Lamar Jackson's single-season rushing record.
Fields also broke several records along the way, including rushing for 178 yards against the Dolphins, the most by a quarterback, ever, in a regular season game. His cleats currently sit in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
While Fields has competition from Jackson in terms of the league's best rushing quarterbacks, Gronkowski couldn't help but gush about Fields as a runner.
"There is no doubt about that. When I see that guy run, I think he's the best runner in the whole NFL," Gronkowski said. "He just looks like a gazelle out there. Just the way he sprints and how he puts the burners on and he's just flying by defenders, flying by corners. I definitely think he's a franchise quarterback."
Fields is entering his third season as the Bears quarterback, where there's still work to be done. Fields showed what he brings to the offense with his mobility. Now, it's about polishing the passing game, which was the league's worst in 2022.
Fields needs to improve as a passer, but Chicago also needs to get Fields a better supporting cast - one that will give him time to throw and an elite No. 1 receiver that all the young quarterbacks possess.
Gronkowski believes Fields is on the path to having a successful career.
"I just think you need the right system around you when you are that type of talent and to utilize that talent in the right way," Gronkowski said. "I feel like he's still kind of feeling it out in the NFL. He broke a couple records, so you just have to figure out a way to use that the right way. I believe he can have a very successful career. And get the right weapons around him as well that can utilize his skill set."
That's the focus for general manager Ryan Poles this offseason: Building around Fields, whether that's addressing holes along the offensive line and at wide receiver, as well as improving the roster as a whole.
The good news is Poles has the resources - roughly $99 million in salary cap space and the No. 1 pick int eh NFL draft - to work with.
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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire