30 Aug College QB Prospects – Part II: Luke Falk and Josh Rosen
Go to part 1: Darnold vs. Allen
There is a sizable gap between the two quarterbacks from part one, but these two quarterbacks figure to round out the first round of 2018’s draft.
#4 Luke Falk – Washington State
6-foot-4, 216 pounds
Biggest 2017 Test: 11/25 @ Washington
Polished: The knock on quarterbacks raised in the Air Raid system is a lack of anticipatory throws. In Mike Leach’s spread scheme, the short side of the field often features smash-concepts. This requires Falk to decipher coverage and deliver the ball prior to the receiver’s break – he excels in this area.
His touch-passing rivals that of the best long ball throwers in the game. With a big arm, and an arcing trajectory on his long passes, he’s a dangerous downfield threat.
Falk’s straight line speed isn’t going to flash on tape, but he’s effective throwing on the move. His footwork in the pocket is quick and choppy allowing him to square his shoulders to his target quickly. Flying through his progressions, Falk trusts his eyes and lets it rip with as much confidence as anyone in college football.
The time from decision-to-release is as quick as the snap of a finger. His over the top delivery generates a lot of zip on the ball and doesn’t add any sort of prolonged time to his release.
Falk is a master manipulator when it comes to holding defenders with his eyes. In a route-tree that features multiple reads to all levels of the field, it’s imperative that he moves defenses with ball fakes and eye-positioning – both strengths.
Needs Work: Falk has full autonomy at the line of scrimmage. This serves as a positive in regards to his football acumen, but the ugly side of it shows up on tape at times (particularly the Arizona State game.) Running empty sets, the majority of the time, the quarterback has to get the protection calls right and, too many times, a free rusher punishes Falk. He’s not particularly adept at extending plays by pressing the line of scrimmage. He prefers to stay in the pocket and find a platform to throw from there.
This trait can affect his mechanics and his trust to plant and drive the football. When he’s harassed all game, he has a tendency to start fading away from throws and even attempt the dreaded jump pass. This negatively impacts his otherwise sharp accuracy.
The quick trigger and decisive “let it rip” mentality results in some costly mistakes. As soon as he sees something he likes, the ball is coming and an unaccounted for defender will jump some of these passes.
Potential Landing Spots: Back end of round 1, top of round 2 – Pittsburgh, NY Giants, New Orleans
2017 Preview Conclusion: There are plenty of things about Luke Falk that will get some teams excited about him in round one. His toughness, his touch, his football intelligence and quick release are the hallmarks of an effective quarterback. It’ll be interesting to see if he can clean up some of the inconsistencies in the face of pressure and those poor decisions.
Jump Pass/Poor Accuracy:
#3 Josh Rosen – UCLA
6-foot-4, 218 pounds
Biggest 2017 Test: 10/28 @ Washington
Polished: Josh Rosen has the feature that will adorn the casual observer to his game – the big arm. He can drive the ball deep down the field, into tight windows in the intermediate areas, and to the right-side perimeter. The ball jumps off his hand unlike just about any quarterback in college football. From the time he pulls the trigger, to the time the ball is on the target, is as quick as they come.
The arm doesn’t slump when he’s forced into an off-balanced position either. He can generate power on the move, against his body or in the face of the rush.
He’s a natural passer with a fluid motion that doesn’t feature any hitches or quirks. The ball is always securely held up around his chest and there are no wasted motions from that point to the top of his release.
Needs Work: His accuracy on throws to the right boundary are consistent, but going to the left is a different story. Going left, he tends to lock onto his targets and force the ball into windows that aren’t there – this will get him into trouble at the next level.
He has active feet at the top of his drop, but they don’t help him move anywhere. He wants to climb the pocket are stay home in the face of the rush. He looks like he’s stuck in wet concrete on tape as his efforts to evade the rush are normally unsuccessful. He doesn’t always account for rushers and will take some crushing shots. This led to two different injuries in the Arizona State game and affected his shoulder for the rest of the season.
Rosen isn’t the most polished touch passer. He can really rip it, but when he needs a certain level of finesse, the ball is often flat and easy for the defender to get a hand on. When there is a robber in coverage, he often fails to identify that particular coverage and will put the ball directly in the defense’s hands.
Potential Landing Spots: He’s regarded as 1c to Allen and Darnold, but I don’t see it. He’s, at best, a second round project for me. That being said, he figures to go in the top 10 because of the raw tangibles.
2017 Preview Conclusion: There are tools to work with, but he’s a long way away from being an effective NFL quarterback. The lack of niftiness in the pocket, the egregious decisions under pressure, and the unwarranted confidence to squeeze tight windows is going to make him a turnover machine early in his career.
The Big Arm:
Poor Accuracy/Fade Away:
Coming soon – Part III: Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Mason Rudolph