#15 Washington State Cougars v Colorado Buffaloes
Saturday, October 21, 2017, 10:45 p.m. ET
Martin Stadium – Pullman, WA
Washington State (28), Colorado (0)
1. Luke Falk might be undraftable
The final stat line – 17-34 for 197 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions – looked pretty solid, but those numbers don’t tell the whole story. Falk had more than one interceptable/dangerous throw, and his arm looks worse every week. He floats passes that should be zipped into tight windows, and takes forever to process reads from the pocket. He doesn’t stretch the field willingly, and often telegraphs throws by staring down his first read until it opens up.
But what really make Falk almost undraftable in my evaluation is his pocket presence and inability to play tough under pressure. Falk simply plays scared when he senses the slightest compression of the pocket, doing a poor job of escaping pressure and keeping his eyes downfield. Quarterbacks who don’t play tough in the pocket and can’t play out of structure simply don’t have what it takes to start in the NFL. Falk lacks both qualities, and at this point in his career it’s unrealistic to believe he’ll ever obtain either.
2. Isaiah Oliver with another strong performance
Oliver was a blanker all over the field in coverage, and has the competitive toughness and physical traits to be a player that really rises up boards if he declares as a true junior. Oliver is 6-1, 190 pounds and plays with an edge, taking each of his assignments in man coverage personally. He had terrific coverage vertically on one nine route, and was unjustly called for pass interference when he looked back for the underthrown ball and the receiver stopped his route, causing Oliver to run into him. Based on what I’ve seen live in two games this season, I’d expect him to be one of the top names at corner if he declares. Hopefully the injury he suffered midway through the game isn’t serious.
3. Notes on two other high-profile draftable prospects
Washington State’s Hercules Mata’afa continues to impress me. As an undersized interior defender he’s forced to win with quickness and hand usage more than straight power, but I’ll be very curious to see how he tests as he’ll obviously move to defensive end at the next level.
Colorado running back Phillip Lindsay will probably have his group of day three fans among the draft community, but while the back is tough and in terrific shape, he’s simply too small and not enough of a creator to be much of an NFL prospect. He passed the 1,000-yard mark on Saturday night however, which is an impressive feat by Week 8.