Luke Falk – Redshirt Senior / 6’4″ / 216 – Washington State
2016: Cal, Washington, Eastern Washington
2015: Oregon, Miami, Arizona State, Oregon State
The Arm: Luke Falk is your typical PAC12 rubber-armed shotgun shogun. He is extremely accurate on his deep throws. Falk is also not gun-shy when coverage is tight. He has a short and very quick release. His accuracy on the move or outside of the pocket is not a strength, it tails off quite a bit. The good news he tends to throw high or beyond his intended receiver. So at the very least, you know he has the arm strength to get it there.
This is also a commonality with a lot of QBs in timing based spread systems. NFL edge players will be told to crash in on him every play to exploit this issue. This is one those things that might make a big difference to professional scouts and how they view his prospects of translating his skills to the NFL. It could drop him from the round one discussion and not in the franchise QB realm.
The Feet: He is a bit of a plodder as he does not move his legs much post-snap. He can move in the pocket, but it is a desperate last resort. This is why his tape is kind of boring. Rhythmically he is fine, but it’s like listening AC/DC or Bachman-Turner-Overdrive as opposed to Slayer or Iron Maiden. It’s basic rock n’ roll versus thrash/speed metal. He does stand tall in the pocket. Yet, there is usually not much going on below his waist. The pocket is his home and his preference. Some may argue that this is very translatable. I cannot totally disagree with that but expect the speed of the NFL will cause him to move a lot more.
His pocket feel and anticipation will be tested. His feet are confident and poised but his inability to create after three to five seconds might keep him from becoming elite. The lack of foot movement may also be a product of shotgun based scheme. In 2016 there was estimated 60% shotgun based snaps used in the NFL as a whole. This does not guarantee that Falk will not have to ever be under center, however. And, when he is under center where will his sense of timing come from? How will he react to or avoid pressure?
The Brain: I have appreciated watching Falk grow up with Cougars. He is very comfortable and focused in the pocket. His mentality and Football IQ have certainly got me excited about what he can do at the next level. One thing does strike me every time I watch game film on him though. He will repeatedly leave his pass catchers to be decapitated (not really.) I don’t feel I have noticed such a reoccurrence with the past QBs I have studied. Sure you will see this here and there with others but with Falk it seems to happen 12 to 15 times a game.
Obviously, this is not a purposeful act but he has to notice this, right? It is more than likely a matter of ball placement. It could be that he is hyper-focused on his top two progressions and the timing of the routes. He has an acute sense of when his top receiving option has hatched his route. This may be something that defenses can expose. There may also be a touch of stubbornness to Falk. He knows he can make that throw and no coverage blanket can stop him from hitting his receiver in the chest. That may be true in the PAC12 but the NFL is a much sharper guillotine.
Fantasy Outlook: Lance Zierlein of NFL.com has compared Falk to Matt Hasselbeck. I see Kurt Warner but Falk is definitely faster, although that’s not saying much. The Air Raid and the majority rule shotgun sets are quite similar. The timing and progressions change at the same rate of speed. However, NFL defenders love nothing more than disrupting the timing of a play. Recent NFL draftees likely Jared Goff and Bryce Petty have similar athletic profiles, BMI and came from Air Raid systems. Neither have had encouraging starts to their NFL careers. Yet, in Goff’s case, he is entering a new system that not only created some dynasty buzz but should also suit his strengths much better.
Falk is better than Petty and might surpass Goff eventually. He is, however, a long way from my first comparison, Kurt Warner. System fit is ultra important when an NFL team drafts a QB. The undrafted Warner fell into a grand spot with the Rams. With the Giants however, things did not mesh. Then in Arizona, they clicked again! These are just a few stories and scenarios for which Falk can take and learn from.