Logan Thomas has the prototypical 6'6", 260-pound frame with athleticism and arm strength that can be molded to any system. Geno Smith is a wiry 6'3", 214 pounds, and he plays in a pitch-and-catch spread offense that doesn't resemble a pro attack. Yet when we put both players under the microscope, Smith still appears to have the more pro-ready game.
What is it about their skill sets that makes Smith look like he'll have more success on Sundays?
It doesn't take a football genius to see that Smith is destroying Thomas in this category this year, with an astounding 88 percent completion rate to Thomas's 54. Smith has as many incompletions as touchdown passes this year. The accuracy differences go beyond the sheer rate of success, as both quarterbacks throw a lot of short passes outside of the numbers. Smith's are almost always thrown at eye level, where the receiver can catch the ball cleanly and turn upfield for a run-after-catch opportunity:
Thomas throws low too often when targeting this area of the field, causing a receiver to go low and take away the run-after-catch opportunity on the slant:
Or missing the receiver altogether, resulting in an incompletion:
Thomas' game is predicated on mobility, but Smith is also proficient at moving around behind the line of scrimmage. Smith sees pressure in the red zone and moves to his right to avoid it:
He keeps the ball in throwing position on the move:
The play resulted in a touchdown when Smith found an open receiver in the corner of the end zone. Contrast that with Thomas, who is on the move by design and has an open receiver in front of him:
Thomas instead pulls the ball down and turns the receiver, still looking for a pass, into a blocker:
Thomas thinks run, and prefers to run, while Smith thinks pass, and prefers to pass.
The qualities revealed by how the quarterbacks think and hold the ball on the move also come to the forefront when they are under pressure in the pocket. Smith sees pressure and prepares to step up in the pocket:
He encounters more pressure there:
Smith eludes the second rusher and sees another member of the Thundering Herd coming for him. The whole time his eyes are downfield and he is looking to throw:
Smith eventually turned the play into a decent gain as a runner. Thomas, on the other hand, is in what looks like a clean pocket:
A defensive tackle puts his hand up, and Thomas decides to run. Again, notice that he has given up on the pass:
Thomas is sacked:
Not only does Thomas remove the pass an option on the move, he also abandons it when he is pressured. Smith doesn't give up on the pass until he is forced to.
This is where Thomas clearly holds an advantage over Smith, simply because he can move very well for a huge quarterback. Think Daunte Culpepper. Surprisingly, Smith shows up well here, too.
This running play goes awry from the word "go," as Smith turns to the wrong side to hand the ball off:
He quickly spots the hole that was supposed to be for the running back:
Smith bursts through the hole and eventually encounters a tackler in the open field, putting a cutback move on them:
His underrated speed allows him to get a step on the last man with a chance to tackle him:
And Smith is able to score on a broken play:
When we get to the pre-draft season and tools start to overwhelm film, Thomas will be a draft darling, but right now on film, Smith looks ready to handle a lot more aspects of the pro game than Thomas does. Thomas may go higher in the draft, but Smith is on a surer track to NFL success and stardom.