Editor's note: Scott Bair reports on Bay Area draft hopefuls from the Senior Bowl all week long right here on CSNBayArea.com
MOBILE, Ala. – Former San Jose State quarterback David Fales will be drafted during the NFL’s annual talent grab, likely between the second and fourth rounds.
That’s a big jump for a passer nobody wanted at the college level. That point isn’t lost on the 23-year from Salinas, CA.
His road to a professional career was full rejection from some odd places. He wasn’t a good fit at Nevada was told he’d never play there. He gave up a Division I scholarship for a chance to reset his career at Monterey Peninsula junior college.
[RELATED: David Fales career stats]
He accepted an invitation to be a preferred walk-on at Wyoming, only to realize he was a backup plan at best. He went back to junior college, and his only offer came from Indiana State. Had another quarterback honored his commitment at San Jose State, Fales might not be days away from playing in the Senior Bowl.
He certainly wouldn’t be considered draft worthy, and he understands this opportunity is equal parts hard work and good luck.
“A lot of things had to go right,” Fales said Monday evening. “There were a lot of big decisions to be made, from leaving Nevada, not going to Wyoming and ending up in San Jose close to friends and family. I feel incredibly fortunate to be in this position.”
Fales earned the opportunity with two excellent seasons leading a Spartans renaissance. He threw for 8,382 yards, 66 touchdowns and 22 interceptions in his San Jose State tenure.
Fales’ finest effort was his last. He threw for 547 yards, six touchdowns and no picks against previously unbeaten Fresno State. That game gave him cachet. The pre-draft process will determine whether he keeps it.
The Senior Bowl is a big part of that, larger for Fales than most. He needs to play well against some major-conference talent, even during the intensely competitive practices leading up to the game.
“If I want to be considered among the best,” Fales said. “I need to standout in situations like this.”
The objective is to convince leery NFL scouts that he can play at an NFL level, in a pro-style set.
The book on Fales: He’s surgically accurate, especially on short and intermediate throws. His pocket presence is excellent, with ability to evade, elude and deliver quality throws before absorbing big hits.
There are some questions about arm strength and a willingness to throw into coverage.
“Everyone has an opinion,” Fales said. “It’s tough to read the negative, so I stay away from it as much as I can. If it’s still going through your head, it can be a distraction you don’t want getting in the way. I majored in sports psychology, so I understand that the
mind can play tricks sometimes. I know what I have to work on and how I need to improve. That’s all I’m focused on.”
Fales values the opportunity to apply for his dream job over the next few months, and he believes his path through the collegiate ranks has made him tough and prepared him well for what’s to come.
“I wouldn’t have done it any other way,” Fales said. “I learned a lot during my journey, at every stop along the way made me the person and the player I am today. It’s crazy to think that I’m here, at the Senior Bowl. I’m so excited about the opportunity to prove that I belong.”
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