Luke Falk is well on his way to breaking numerous Washington State and Pac-12 records during his senior year in Pullman. He has goals for this season, most of which are related to team success. Falk is a team player, and isn’t thinking about individual accomplishments. But if he has a stellar senior season, he could vault up draft board and make himself some money.
Although the 2017 draft just took place, it’s never too early to start examining 2018 draft prospects. Teams are already examining Falk’s pro potential, but he does have another year to put on tape before becoming a professional.
Luke Falk Draft Projection
1st round pick:
Falk will need to improve upon his junior season to get selected in the first round of the 2018 draft. There are a lot of talented quarterbacks in this draft class, so he’ll need a strong season to vault up teams’ draft boards. Most teams will see Falk as a developmental quarterback because he plays in Mike Leach’s system, so that’ll probably keep him from being an early first round pick.
He’d be a great fit on a team that has an aging quarterback that he can learn from before being thrown into the fire. One example of such a team would be the Arizona Cardinals. Carson Palmer isn’t getting any younger, and is coming off of a shaky 2016. Even if he bounces back in 2017, they’ll probably want a quarterback of the future. Falk has the accuracy, poise, and anticipation that teams look for. If he can improve his pocket awareness and arm strength, he could become a 2018 first round pick.
2nd-3rd round pick:
Most draft experts projected Falk as a day two pick in 2017 before he decided to return to Washington State for his senior season. If he puts up similarly impressive numbers and doesn’t improve his arm strength and pocket awareness, he’ll likely be a day two pick. This is a perfect area for developmental quarterbacks with starter traits to be drafted. Falk has starter upside, but may project best as a career backup.
It’s worth taking a shot on his skill set because of his accuracy and ability to anticipate throwing windows. He does this better than some starting quarterbacks. But his arm strength and college offense may concern teams. Falk is the best quarterback prospect that Mike Leach has ever coached. Leach allows Falk total control of the offense, which is something that he doesn’t do for all of his quarterbacks. But it might take time for Falk to learn an NFL playbook, so teams might not want to spend a first round pick on him. In all likelihood, Falk will be selected in the second or third round.
4th-7th round pick:
Every year there are quarterbacks that are projected to be day one or day two picks that fall to day three. This isn’t a career killer, as proved by Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys. If you are talented enough to be a starting NFL quarterback, you’ll get your chance to prove it no matter where you’re selected. Although it’s unlikely that Falk will be a day three pick, it’s not impossible.
Falk would need to struggle this season or suffer an injury to fall to day three of the 2018 draft. If he starts throwing interceptions at a high rate, that could cause him to slide down draft boards. He doesn’t have elite physical tools, so becoming a turnover-prone quarterback could be extremely detrimental to his draft stock. He has been careful with the ball thus far under Mike Leach’s tutelage, and it’ll have to continue if he wants to be a high draft pick.
Falk could also fall down draft boards if he suffers an injury this season or in training for the NFL draft. Chad Kelly was a great example of this during the 2017 draft. He was projected as an early to mid-round pick, but fell to the last pick of the draft due to a torn ACL (and off-field concerns that Falk doesn’t have). It’s unlikely that Falk will struggle this season, but he did lose his top two receivers from last season. He’ll have to continue to improve if he wants to avoid falling to day three of the 2018 draft.
Undrafted free agent:
It’s extremely unlikely that Falk will be undrafted. He’d have to be injured, because even a bad season won’t keep him from being drafted. If he suffers a career ending injury or suffers a long-term injury near the draft, then he might go undrafted. He’d likely need to struggle this season prior to the injury to not get selected. Falk comes from a gimmicky offense and doesn’t have a huge arm, but he has enough traits that coaches look for in quarterbacks to get a shot.