NFL Draft 2014: Logan Thomas' Draft Stock Mirrors His on-Field Play

Bryan Manning@bdmanning4Featured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2014

At 6'6" and 250 pounds, Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas has the prototypical size of an NFL quarterback. In addition to his size, Thomas has good speed, a howitzer of an arm and three years of starting experience at an excellent program.

He should be a shoo-in as one of the top picks in the upcoming NFL draft, right?

Not so fast.

Thomas' play at Virginia Tech was erratic and inconsistent. He finished his college career with 39 interceptions in 40 starts. His inaccuracy the past two years was troubling.

To be fair, his supporting cast at Virginia Tech during each of the last two seasons was lackluster. The Hokies couldn't run the ball, making Thomas the team's leading rusher in 2012 and second-best in 2013. 

In 2011, Thomas threw the ball to Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale—the top two receivers in school history—and handed the ball off to David Wilson. That's not a bad nucleus for a first-year starting quarterback.

When Boykin, Coale and Wilson all departed for the NFL after the 2011 season, though, Thomas struggled with consistency. 

Thomas just finished a week of practice at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and as expected, he was one of the more polarizing players at the event. 

If you talked to 10 different NFL scouts about Thomas, you'd likely get 10 different answers regarding his NFL potential.

He wins the eyeball test, is smart and is a hard worker. Oh, but that game film; it doesn't lie.

Thomas' arm is impressive; however, he struggles with the little things. Despite that strong arm, Thomas never puts any velocity into his throws. Some of that is due to footwork, and some is due to Thomas not receiving good coaching on the finer nuances of quarterback play.

In the first play of the video below, Thomas missed the wide receiver by not placing the ball in front of him. The play could have resulted in a touchdown.

Just a few plays later, Thomas showed a lack of pocket awareness when got rid of the ball too quickly and overthrew the receiver.

In his first two years as a starter, Thomas' QB coach was Mike O'Cain. Thomas didn't progress from his first year to his second year, and O'Cain was gone after the 2012 season.

Scot Loeffler became Thomas' offensive coordinator in 2013, and Thomas improved in some areas. Because he had to learn a new offense and be the workhorse in the running game, though, Thomas still struggled with his accuracy. 

Quarterback guru George Whitfield has worked with Thomas the past two years in California. Thomas and Johnny Manziel are working with Whitfield this offseason to prepare for the NFL draft. Whitfield's main point of emphasis for Thomas is to improve his touch passing. 

According to Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated, Whitfield has a very detailed plan for Thomas. In his last workout before leaving for the Senior Bowl, Whitfield didn't want Thomas to throw one ball on a line. Whitfield had Thomas throw the ball over someone holding a tennis racket high in the air or over a soccer goal.

Whitfield said he wanted Thomas to "train like he's 6'2" and 200 pounds," Staples reported. This is an excellent strategy, as it forces Thomas to understand the difference between putting more velocity into his throws and putting more arc into his passes. He currently has a tendency to lob throws.

You cannot telegraph your throws in the NFL. Defenders are too smart and too fast. If Thomas doesn't improve in that area, his NFL lifespan will be very short, regardless of his immense physical gifts. 

Some say Thomas should switch to tight end in the NFL. After all, he was recruited to Virginia Tech to play tight end.

That isn't going to happen, though.

Thomas said one unnamed team broached such a move, and he was very clear in his desire to remain a quarterback, per Zac Boyer of The Washington Times.

"I just disregard it right off the top, really" Thomas said of switching to tight end. "I said, ‘I’d probably just tell you, ‘No, thank you. I’ll just take my chances elsewhere.''"

You have to admire Thomas for his unwavering desire to remain a quarterback. 

Virginia Tech ended a run of eight consecutive 10-win seasons in 2012. It would be unfair to blame only Thomas' supporting cast for the Hokies' failures the last two years; Thomas had his hand in it, too. Tech's downfield passing game, which was somewhat good in 2012, was almost nonexistent in 2013.

When the NFL Scouting Combine begins next month, expect Thomas to be one of the stars. He will post some of the better workout numbers among all quarterbacks. That will only go so far, though.

Look for Whitfield to set up an individual pro day for Thomas sometime this spring to showcase his ability to make every NFL throw. 

Where will Thomas be drafted come May? Much higher than you think, based off watching him play in college. His physical attributes will cause some NFL teams to rate Thomas much higher on their draft boards. The recent success of big, athletic QBs, such as Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton, will help Thomas tremendously.

While no one believes he will be a first-round pick, don't rule out Thomas being selected in the second or third round. Remember, it only takes one team to fall in love.


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