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2018 NFL Draft: Luke Falk Scouting Report

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NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

What are the Titans getting in their rookie signal caller from Washington State? How much will he play during the preseason? How quickly can he pick up the playbook?

Player name: Luke Falk

H/W: 6’4 215

Position: Quarterback

School / Class: Washington State / RS Senior

Measurables: 26.5” vertical jump, 8’7” broad jump

The Tape

2016 vs Cal

2016 vs Arizona State

2017 vs Oregon

2017 vs Stanford

2017 vs USC

2017 vs Utah

Strengths

- Production - In a word, elite. He has numerous school and conference records in virtually every passing category. Posted a career line of 14,481 yards, 119 touchdowns and 39 interceptions. The yardage stats are insane even by Air Raid standards. Is a career 68% passer.

- Arm Talent - He has just enough to make all the big league throws. Has very good touch on his passes. Knows how and when to throw the fastball. Natural thrower meaning it isn’t clunky and ugly coming off his hands. He may not get the ball there on some of the deeper passes but the ball placement is generally on point. The great ball placement allows for the receiver to make a play instead of having to chase back for the pass. Lightning quick release.

- Short Game - Like in golf, a short game is critical to success. Due to his plus accuracy and ball placement, the short and intermediate routes are routine for him. After further research, he displays an uncanny knack of throwing guys open. The Wazzu offense wasn’t just bombs away 4 verts all the time. He certainly has an ability to create plays out of nothing. Can look off defenders with some regularity even if the scheme didn’t require it. Knows when to go for the home run and when to check down.

- Character / Work Ethic - Very good on both fronts. Worked himself into being a starter after coming on as a two star walk on recruit that redshirted. Lives and breathes football. Has played in 42 games of a possible 50 (played in 5 games as a redshirt frosh backup and missed the bowl game as a senior due to injury). Football junkie. Fan of Tom Brady’s infamous TB12 workout methods. Reportedly had full command of the offense during his senior year. He wore #3 in honor of backup QB and presumptive 2018 starter Tyler Hilinski who committed suicide in early 2018. Skipped out on the Senior Bowl game to attend the funeral.

Weaknesses

- Consistency - He will look like a world beater one moment and not even worth a Division 1 scholarship the next. There’s no in between. Inconsistent as a starter in 2017 and was benched as a result. He will need some serious coaching to develop any sort of rhythm.

- Pocket Awareness - Not good. Has 0 feel for incoming pass rushers and absorbed a ton of punishment as a result. He needs a sturdy offensive line to help keep him propped up. There’s no way he can last long if he takes the punishment he did in college at the NFL level. Lack of athleticism is very evident. Cannot escape onrushing pass rushers at all.

- Mechanics / Fundamentals - His footwork is beyond abysmal. Doesn’t know how or when to slide up or down in the pocket. Reverts to throwing off his back foot when rushed. Sloppy arm work as well. Below average arm talent. Doesn’t have the arm strength to ram the ball in a tight window, which allows for beat defenders to catch up to his passes. Floats the ball on deep routes frequently. Poor reader of the defense. Has a tendency to hold onto the ball too long.

- Scheme - While the Mike Leach Air Raid is fun and aesthetically pleasing for putting up video game numbers, it’s not ideal for the pro game. There’s historical precedent for this as none of his pupils have amounted to anything at the NFL level. Yes, I realize that the spread ‘em out shotgun is en vogue right now but Falk has virtually 0 experience dropping back from under center. The scheme, while not as bad as Auburn’s or Briles era Baylor, is still terrible. Falk has no experience in any other offense. He has very little experience in having to make reads and throwing it to the correct receiver.

Notes

The records that he holds are impressive especially in a conference known for its offensive fireworks. Falk was a two star recruit that walked onto Wazzu and made himself into the starter by sheer force of will. That’s more impressive than the records. Funny note: picked with the Tom Brady Memorial Pick aka 199. Is a huge fan of Brady. I just hope he doesn’t bring around a shady “doctor” like TB does eventually. Stood out at the Senior Bowl. He played with a injured wrist during the 2017 season which forced him to miss the bowl game.

Contract

4 years, $2,460,000.

Links

Christian D’Angelo of SB Nation has an interesting article on Falk’s pro prospects

Justin Melo of Titans Wire has an interview with Wazzu HC Mike Leach that touches on Falk.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports, Falk reflects on the national suicide issue and Tyler Hilinski

Final Summary

Yes, I like the pick but in the sense that it’s a multi year development project. Falk has a lot of issues that he needs to correct so he went to the right team to fix them. He can use the redshirt year to sit and learn the pro game while healing from the abuse that he took in Pullman. Needs some S&C work as well. He was the subject of 125 sacks and countless hits due to a horrible offensive line. OC Matt LaFleur is the perfect coach to guide him in his development. All these factors and Falk’s tireless work ethic should help him develop into competing for a backup role against Blaine Gabbert. I really liked him as a prospect and he was projected to go a round or two higher than he was selected. I can see that he has a lot of good tools such as short to medium accuracy and ball placement to build around. The issues he has are coachable.

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