How much risk is an NFL team willing to take with a talented guy who didn't play in 2012? We'll find out with Chris Faulk.
It's not often you see a guy enter the NFL Draft having only played in one game the previous year and have a year of eligibility left, but that's exactly what Offensive Tackle Chris Faulk from LSU is doing this year. Faulk missed the final 12 games of the 2012 season with a knee injury (did play against North Texas in opener), but decided to forego that final season (he actually could have asked for a second for the injury).
Faulk only played two seasons for the Tigers, playing in 27 games, starting in 15 of them (two at RT, 13 at LT). Between his Sophomore and Junior seasons Faulk made the switch from RT to LT, and earned the job in spring practice. He'll most likely make the move back to RT when he gets to the NFL. He then went out and earned second team All-SEC honors in 2011.
The Combine came and went without Faulk working out, which I'm sure is not helping him out much with his draft stock, as he can't completely convince teams he's back healthy. He's now about six month out from his ACL surgery, so my non-doctor analysis is that he won't be ready to work out for at least three months, if not longer. Some team will have to take him on potential, as the Draft will inevitably come and go before Faulk can do any running.
Unfortunately the Colts probably aren't in a position to take a project like this due to their lack of picks in this year's draft. Faulk is being projected in the 3rd/4th round, so it's possible he may have some value at the back end of Round 4, but it's far from certain he'll make it that far. He obviously could play pretty well before he got injured, so it's possible he's a first round talent found in Round 3 or 4. Will the Colts take this chance? My guess is no, but you can't rule anything out.
Looks for contact through his hands. Even with poor technique, he wins with it. That can go a long way, tough to question if it is consistent. Does adjust hands to try and regain position.
Heavy feet and tight hips. Leads to poor posture. When mirroring laterally, hands go all over the place, flailing, has balance issues. Gets jolted and shuffles back with head down. Doesn't get a consistent inside latch.
STRENGTHS: Very smooth out of his stance. He eases to his left, latches on with strong hands and has the lateral agility and balance to sustain blocks in pass protection. He possesses long arms and surprising flexibility to reach speed rushers.
WEAKNESSES: Besides just his health, however, scouts will also want to make sure Faulk is in shape, as the 6-6, 335-pounder has carried more weight across his middle than most of today's relatively svelte offensive tackles.
COMPARES TO: Andrew Whitworth, LT, Bengals -- Faulk certainly doesn't have the body type normally associated with dominant blind-side pass protectors in today's NFL. That said, neither does Whitworth, a 6-7, 330-pound former LSU standout who developed into one of the league's better left tackles for the Bengals.
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