At 6-4, 211 pounds, WSU QB Luke Falk is considered slender for the position, and he also has to show NFL teams he can transition from the Air Raid to the pros. But, in Mobile, Ala. this week for the Senior Bowl, Falk appears to have made a favorable impact on scouts and draft analysts
Even though he’s on a Senior Bowl North team that’s loaded with quarterback talent, Washington State’s Luke Falk has more than held his own next to Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Wyoming’s Josh Allen in Mobile, Ala. this week.
By many accounts, Falk has done well both on the practice field and in the interview room in the lead-up to Saturday’s Senior Bowl game.
On Monday, Falk, who’s wearing jersey number “3” in honor of his late teammate Tyler Hilinski, was nationally lauded for his sensitive, insightful comments on the issue of suicide
Since then, draft analysts say he’s showed off his accuracy, vision and anticipation on the field, and impressed NFL teams with his maturity, football IQ and demeanor in interviews.
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ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay called Falk “the most consistent quarterback here from the very first minute to the end of practice” while NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said on air before Thursday morning’s practice that “when you look at all these quarterbacks, you can make the argument that nobody has helped himself as much as Luke Falk has this week.”
Falk has met with multiple NFL teams in Alabama, including the Chicago Bears and New York Jets, and he appears to have left a favorable impression.
“The anticipation and timing stand out,” Jeremiah said. “I think (Falk’s) interviews are going great with teams. They’re shocked at all the control and power he had at the line of scrimmage.”
Falk told the Chicago Tribune that the Bears were the first team to ask him to explain offenses on a whiteboard this week.
“They just wanted to see if I understood our concepts at Washington State and what my process was, and see how it could maybe translate to the next level,” Falk told the Tribune.
The big knock against Falk is that he comes from WSU’s Air Raid system that’s known for inflating offensive statistics because of its emphasis on passing.
But, as NFL Network analyst Charles Davis points out, Falk is a bit different from other Air Raid quarterbacks Mike Leach has had, and has a chance to change the NFL’s perception of Leach quarterbacks.
“These guys coming out of Washington State and the Mike Leach system, a lot of them are dart throwers,” Davis said. “This is a big, tall kid with a lot more arm than you’re used to seeing in that system, so he doesn’t quite fit what you’ve seen before.
“If he makes it, he’s going to break a chain for Mike Leach. Mike has had great production, but hasn’t had a quarterback who’s really hit it.”
Falk’s Air Raid background has earned him comparisons to Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who played in a similar system under Sonny Dykes at Cal.
Renowned NFL Network draft talent evaluator Mike Mayock thinks Falk’s thin frame (6-4, 211 pounds) is something of a concern, but says Falk reminds him of Goff, though, Mayock notes, “I don’t think he’s got that arm strength.”
Like Goff before him, Falk is determined to show in the pre-draft process that he can adapt to the pro style system still favored by many NFL teams.
“People want to fault me for being in the Air Raid system. But that was the system I played in,” Falk said at Senior Bowl media day. “What I can show is what I’ve done at Washington State, our schemes and concepts and how they can translate, and just talk football. … When I get into a different system, I’m going to perfect that as well.”
To that end, Falk has been taking extra snaps from center after Senior Bowl practices this week just to get more reps.
“I need to show I can take a snap under center. I never really did that at WSU, and it’s going to be a little difficult with this going on,” Falk said, gesturing to the brace on his left (non-throwing) hand. “I’ve got a brace that’s gonna allow me to be full go. Is it gonna be painful? Who knows. But structurally, I’m fine. I get this thing off in three weeks and I’m gonna be 100 percent.”
Falk broke a bone in his left hand against Boise State and played with a cast on it all year. However he had to have surgery on the hand before the Holiday Bowl and ended up sitting out the bowl game.
Falk exuded a modest confidence during his media day interview, telling reporters, “I’m a franchise quarterback and I’m going to win Super Bowls.”
“I’m just here to play football, show what I can do, interview well and show the teams I’m the right guy for them,” Falk said.
Falk has been working with former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley and quarterback guru Adam Dedeaux to refine his dropbacks and snaps from under center.
Dedeaux, the CEO of quarterback coaching academy 3DQB, has renowned throwing expert Tom House on his coaching staff, and House has worked with Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, whom Falk idolizes.
Falk’s biggest strengths, draft analysts agree, are his accuracy and his football IQ.
“The way he plays the game, he really gets it at the position,” said Bucky Brooks, another NFL Network analyst. “When you talk to scouts that went through Washington State, they talk about how that was his big calling card there. He was able to run the checks and run the game from the line of scrimmage.
“He’s efficient enough from the pocket and can make all the throws you want to see. But really his understanding of how to manage a game, that’s gonna separate him from others in his class.”
Added Mayock, “If he has clear vision and clean feet where he can step in with confidence, he’s as accurate as anybody in football.”