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2018 NFL Draft prospect profile: Luke Falk, QB, Washington State

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Falk isn’t among the top quarterback prospects, but should he be?

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-North Practice Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NFL Draft is quickly being defined by its quarterback class, more so than any class in recent memory, save the 2012 class. There is much excitement surrounding the top of the 2018 class, but there are also several talented quarterback prospects besides those in consideration at the very top of the draft.

Since the New York Giants have an aging franchise quarterback and the second pick in the draft, it is expected that they will spend that pick on an heir to Eli Manning. However, it is possible that they might wind up trading back and putting the selection of a quarterback off. In that case, it would pay to know the second tier of prospects who the Giants could draft on the second day to compete with Davis Webb.

Enter Washington State’s Luke Falk. Falk is a long-time and highly productive starter in Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense, and is regarded as a relatively smart and safe quarterback with a quick and accurate delivery.

Measurables

Pros

  • Solid mechanics and has a quick release.
  • Generally an accurate quarterback who makes sound decisions.
  • Isn’t affraid
  • Experienced QB, who has been a starter since 2014, and set records in Washington State’s offense
  • Flashes the ability to throw with touch, timing, and anticipation

Cons

  • Questionable arm strength. Throws lack “zip” and he often under-throws on deep routes.
  • Occasionally questionable decision making or field vision.
  • Bad habit of staring down receivers when he is “pressing”, trying to make a play.
  • Slender build and has been hit a lot in Washington State’s pass-happy offense. Durability could be a concern.
  • “Spread” quarterback who will face a learning curve at the next level.

Prospect video

What they’re saying

Analysis: Falk was as advertised in Mobile, showing good footwork, fundamentals and pocket poise while proving accurate in the short and intermediate field, struggling to drive deep balls and missing some tight-window throws. The rumors that his arm strength would look better outside of the air raid didn’t hold up, but he still has the skill set to be a high-level backup and spot starter at the NFL level.

-Tony Pauline (Draft Analyst)

Does He Fit The Giants?

At first blush, Falk looks like a player who could be a gem for a team that runs a quick-strike, “West Coast” based offense. He is generally accurate, mechanically sound, has a quick release, and enough mobility to be fluid in the pocket, make a rusher miss and pick up yards on his own if the opportunity presents itself.

Falk, however, is not without his issues. First and foremost is his arm strength, or lack thereof. He seldom throws passes with real “zip” on the ball, and frequently under-throws receivers on deep routes, especially when he has to reach outside the numbers. It isn’t Falk’s fault that his offense often asked him to throw bubble screens and shovel passes, however there are instances when he seems to look away from open deeper routes and throw into coverage underneath.

Now, it’s entirely possible that those deeper routes weren’t in his progression and the plays just weren’t designed to go there, in which case Falk can’t be faulted, but if his arm limits his ability to execute a full playbook, that IS an issue.

He is generally a good decision maker, and his offense features a number of defined reads which he executes well. Falk doesn’t appear to be afraid to challenge tight throwing windows, and generally completes those throws (though it can be close). But, he sometimes gets himself into trouble by making decisions that require perfect throws to complete, and not delivering that throw.

He does show an ability to use his eyes and body language to manipulate the defense and help his players get open. However, when the pressure starts to mount, he can find himself locking on to his first read and leading the defense to where it needs to go.

Falk will probably find himself drafted on the second day of the draft, and would hope to land on a team that would have an established starter who could give him time to move past the punishment he took at Washington State and grow into an NFL passer.

It is unlikely, however, that that team is the Giants.