The Chicago Bears have found their answer at starting quarterback, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely set at the position. It remains to be seen who else will be in the quarterback room with Trubisky this year, backing him up.
We know for sure one guy who won’t be there: Mike Glennon. Glennon’s a fine backup, and I’m sure he’ll land somewhere in 2018, but it won’t be Chicago. Then there’s Mark Sanchez, who undoubtedly proved an excellent mentor to Trubisky, and is someone I’d like to see stay with the organization in some capacity. I just don’t know if I want him out on the field if Trubisky gets injured. (Actually, I’m pretty sure I don’t.)
So what are the Bears to do?
Certainly there is never a shortage of veteran backups looking for a landing spot and the hot rumor has Matt Nagy looking at Chase Daniel this March. But there’s also another option: a rookie quarterback later in the draft.
When Ryan Pace was first hired as Chicago’s GM he was quoted as saying he wouldn’t be opposed to drafting a quarterback every year. Well he didn’t take any in years one and two, so maybe he’s due for another QB in year four?
One quarterback prospect expected to go in the later rounds, who has gotten a fair amount of press coverage due in part to making a positive impression on multiple teams during Senior Bowl week, is Washington State University quarterback Luke Falk.
Now I consider myself sort of a fair weather WSU fan. I have several family members who graduated from there, and I ended up finishing my second degree at one of their branch campuses. But I don’t consider myself a devoted alumnus. Still, I live on the west coast, watch most of their games and root for them in bowl games. All that has given me a decent look at Luke Falk over the years, and in my opinion, if he’s available on Day 3 the Bears should seriously consider him.
As of right now that would mean probably drafting him (at the earliest) in the 4th round, as Chicago doesn’t currently hold a 3rd round pick (though I wouldn’t be completely surprised if that changed by draft time). Given that NFL teams are almost universally pathological in their attempts to reach for a QB, it’s possible Falk won’t even be available by the time the Bears get to pick on Day 3, and I certainly can’t advocate taking him any earlier than that.
However, football is over and we’re a month out from free agency, so let’s speculate (because there’s nothing else to do) and assume Luke Falk is available for the Bears to take in round four. What are the potential upsides and downsides to drafting him?
- High football-IQ
- PAC-12 all-time leader in passing yards & touchdowns
- Accurate passer
- Sees the field well
- Strong work ethic
- Good leadership skills
- Mature demeanor
- Not the strongest arm
- Not very mobile
- Has a tendency to hold the ball too long
- Too slender (6’4″, 211 lbs)
- His career stats are potentially inflated and less meaningful due to Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense
This is not an exhaustive list of Falk’s strengths and weaknesses, but it’s enough for you to get a sense of what he could potentially bring to the table as a backup quarterback. He’s an intelligent, mature, hard-working guy and an accurate passer. But he is also lacking in arm strength and pure athleticism.
How Luke Could Benefit Mitch
The primary focus for the Chicago Bears is and continues to be whatever is best for Trubisky’s development. Adding Luke Falk to the team could provide Tru with not only a smart, analytical backup who can be of help with Matt Nagy’s dynamic offense, but also offer a bit of added pressure and competition at the quarterback position.
Look, I don’t think Luke Falk could or would ever be good enough to overtake Trubisky as a starter, but having another young guy grinding for an opportunity to prove himself could push Trubisky to be even better. After all, Trubisky has already shown himself to be an intense competitor and an exceptionally hard-worker. He’s the type of guy who would be motivated by competition, not shy away from it.
The way I see it, the worst case scenario for the Bears drafting Luke Falk in a later round is that he ends up a bust on the field, but is still a sharp, professional football mind in the QB room, and the Bears cut him when the time is right.
Best case scenario? Luke Falk becomes a capable NFL-caliber backup, with the ability to step in for Trubisky if needed. Maybe he even becomes a potentially valuable trade piece. Who knows?
Predicting success in the NFL is always a complete guessing game, and the Chicago Bears still have a lot of other pressing needs. If a better, more immediately useful player is available in the fourth round the Bears should absolutely take him. I’m just suggesting the Bears keep Falk on their radar and do their due diligence. After all, if this past NFL season taught us anything, it’s that the backup quarterback position can be quite an important one.
It felt wrong to write about Luke Falk and his participation in the Senior Bowl without mentioning the fact that he skipped the actual game to attend the funeral of his friend and backup quarterback, Tyler Hilinski, who tragically took his own life in January. If you’re suffering please never hesitate to reach out for help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Take care of yourselves, Bears fans.