Here’s how Fales stacks up right now in terms of what NFL teams will look at:
Fales has adequate but not ideal arm strength to be an NFL Quarterback. He underthrows some deep receivers and some of his out routes are undercut for pass breakups because he just doesn’t have a cannon. His arm reminds me a lot of Bengals Quarterback Andy Dalton or Texans QB Matt Schaub, both of whom are serviceable QBs but don’t set the world on fire with their arm strength. In the NFL Fales may be able to strengthen his arm a bit, but it’s highly unlikely he’ll ever have a great arm. Grade: 7.75 out of 10
Fales’ accuracy is his best attribute as a QB. He led the country in completion percentage in 2012 and throws accurately to his left and to his right. On short and intermediate routes almost all incompletions are due to arm strength deficiencies or drops, because Fales simply doesn’t miss easy targets. His deep ball is pretty accurate as well. Grade: 9.25 out of 10
Fales is a fun QB to watch because he has a nice feel for the pocket and is a gunslinger despite his arm limitations. He has quick feet and is able to escape pressure, and isn’t afraid to squeeze the ball into a tight window or take a shot downfield. His aggressiveness is a bit of a curse too, however, since it leads to some ill-advised throws and a few interceptions. While Fales’ arm strength is reminiscent of Dalton or Schaub, those guys are more cautious passers. I liken Fales’ gutsiness to Matthew Stafford or Phillip Rivers, guys who will take chances that lead to higher risk/reward plays. Grade: 8 out of 10.
At 6’3” tall, Fales has good height to translate into an NFL QB, assuming of course that he is listed correctly at that measurement. NFL teams will probably ask him to add 5-10 pounds to bulk up and be more durable, but on the whole Fales has very little to worry about as far as his size his concerned for the next level. Grade: 8.25 out of 10.
Fales isn’t a running QB but he doesn have some wiggle in his step. His feet are always moving in the pocket and he is able to sidestep some pass rushers and prolong plays. He has Matt Ryan type Mobility where he isn’t taking off and running with the ball often but he is also a tough QB to sack because of his quickness. Grade: 7.5 out of 10
Fales had 3 fumbles and 9 interceptions in 2012, a pretty solid number considering how often he drops back to pass. He needs to work on not patting the ball so much in the pocket with his hands, as it’s bad for ball security and can prolong his quick release. Happy feet are good inside the pocket, but happy hands are nothing but trouble. As mentioned earlier Fales isn’t afraid to take risks but he isn’t a turnover machine either. Grade: 7.25 out of 10
Fales will be red flagged by some NFL teams because he has been at 3 colleges in 5 years and that will make them question his commitment level. He also needs to prove himself to be a leader as a Senior this season for SJSU. Guys with similar arms with good intangibles (Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder) typically are drafted high whereas questionable intangibles will make it harder for NFL teams to overlook the arm limitations. Grade: TBD
Fales is a QB I can’t wait to watch in 2013. On tape, he reminds me of a more aggressive Matt Schaub or a poor man’s Matt Ryan. At this juncture I see him as a second or third round prospect at QB, and he’s similar in grade to where Matt Barkley wound up before the 2013 draft.