It is human nature in the NFL draft world to become enamored with physical traits. The Scouting Combine is the most effective way to observe this phenomenon. Even after watching countless hours of game film on a prospect, analysts will get all gooey over a prospect's height or 40-yard dash time.
Sunday at the combine, Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas wowed everyone with his physical gifts. A little hard to understand why, really. Thomas' physical stature and measureables have always been his strength.
NFL.com draft analysts Daniel Jeremiah offered up Thomas' gaudy triangle numbers:
Logan Thomas 40- 4.61, VJ-35.5, BJ-9'10 (tops among QBs in each of the three).— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) February 23, 2014
Thomas checked in at 6'6" and 248 pounds, which on its own is impressive. As a point of reference, Thomas is nearly two inches taller and only two pounds lighter than consensus top tight end prospect, North Carolina's Eric Ebron.
Bleacher Report lead NFL Draft writer Matt Miller offered his opinion about Thomas' future:
There are teams here that have asked Logan Thomas about moving to tight end. Running a 4.60 will increase those talks.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 23, 2014
From a triangle numbers point of view, Thomas' big moment came with a 4.61 40-yard dash on his second attempt. Again as reference, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel ran a 4.68 seven inches shorter and 41 pounds lighter.
But, what exactly do you get with Thomas? His tools as a quarterback pale in comparison to his raw athleticism. His arm is strong, without a doubt. He can get the ball deep with what appears to be very little effort.
However, what you see when Thomas is asked to do anything but throw it deep, he is a victim of his own physical gifts.
On his short and intermediate throws, Thomas doesn't understand when to take something off and lead the wide receiver. Because his arm is so strong, he just muscles it out there. This lack of finesse puts his wide receivers in poor position to make a play.
Thomas' lower body is far too still when he throws. Weight transfer is poor, and coordination between upper- and lower-body mechanics is nonexistent. In the NFL, those "all arm" throws turn into interceptions.
What round would you draft Logan Thomas in?
Thomas really has two paths he can go into the NFL. Some team is going to fall in love with his physical gifts and want to bring him in as a developmental quarterback. How high he's drafted under that scenario is up for some debate. No one should be surprised if he is a top-100 selection on physical potential alone.
Thomas might want to consider a different path to NFL success. With his body and physical gifts, Thomas could think about a move to tight end. This isn't ideal, but if you look at his combine numbers, they compare favorably to the top tight end prospects in this draft. Thomas has massive hands, which should translate to being a solid receiver.
CBS's Bruce Feldman offers a nice snapshot of Thomas' strengths and weaknesses:
#VT Logan Thomas fastest 40 among QBs (4.61) along w 35.5 VJ...Great size, big arm. Accuracy/decision-making ?s.. Will tempt some teams— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) February 23, 2014
Where Thomas' game doesn't translate well to tight end is in terms of his agility on the field. When he runs the football, Thomas is more of a blunt instrument. The central theme to either of these paths is hard work. I don't know Thomas personally, but he has shown nothing in the past two seasons to indicate he wants to become a great quarterback. Or a great anything else for that matter.
If an NFL team goes back and looks over the film, especially over the past two years, you see an athlete who might be tapped out in terms of NFL potential. It's unfortunate that such physical gifts could be wasted, but it certainly looks like it's going to take a significant change by Thomas mentally to succeed at any position.
All stats courtesy of NFL.com.