Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas has become one of the more highly scrutinized prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft and the past few seasons in college football as a whole. After an impressive redshirt sophomore campaign, many were projecting him to be potentially be the top pick in the draft, but he really had a lot of trouble as a junior. There were offensive inconsistencies, coaching issues and Thomas seemed to regress as a passer. As a senior, Thomas has still had some question marks but has also had glimpses of being an extremely impressive passer, almost teasing onlookers with what he could do.
It is important to remember that Thomas actually played tight end in high school and that was what he was recruited to play in Blacksburg before being moved to the quarterback position. As a result, he is still relatively new to the position and it shows.
Going to the NFL, Thomas is a physically gifted, project quarterback. His size, strength and speed make along with an exceptional arm make him an extremely intriguing prospect, but it will take time to get him to be the quarterback he has flashed he could be. Thomas has a ton of work to do on his footwork, decision making, and anticipation. There is immense upside if a team can get it out of him, but he needs to be a in stable environment where he can really work and hone his craft for a while. Thomas projects as a day three pick but he may go earlier than some expect because of all the talent he has, but it regardless of when he is picked, it is going to take time to get him to being the franchise signal caller he has shown he could be.
Vitals & Build
Thomas is listed at 6’6” 254lbs and his physique is impressive. He looks beyond the prototype for the quarterback position. He has excellent strength, quickness and above average speed. Thomas came into football as a tight end and looks it, which is why many have suggested that he go back to that position with his struggles under center. Thomas is more than just NFL ready, but it is tough to bet against the idea that he cannot only get stronger and more athletic as he goes to the next level.
In terms of his ability to throw the football deep and with zip, Thomas is as good as there is in the draft. It looks so easy for him and there are times when he is throwing on the run or does not have his weight under him and he throws missiles down the field. His arm strength seems to be virtually unlimited as it relates to the game of football. His zip is incredible and he can fit the ball into incredibly tight windows with some of the lasers he throws.
Accuracy & Touch
Thomas’s accuracy is inconsistent. He has certainly made some pretty passes in his day and put the ball right on the spot, but he throws the ball leaves him little room for error. Because he is so strong and throws so hard, if he throws too high or wide, the ball is going to sail past his target and is it difficult for the target to adjust.
Thomas needs to work on taking some zip off of his passes and hitting them accurately. When it comes to screens and short passes along those lines, he can have trouble finding the balance where he takes something off of the ball and does not end up throwing a lollipop that sails too far.
Lastly, his accuracy is affected by his mechanics and the fact they are inconsistent. The fact is that Thomas can rifle the ball and does not need his legs to do it. He can throw with nothing but arm and get plenty on it, but the fact that he does not need proper mechanics to do it makes it him unpredictable. He may throw passes from any number of different platforms with his feet and body positioned in different ways when he throws. His arm strength may not be impacted but his accuracy certainly is.
When it comes to touch, Thomas shows little. Almost everything he throws is a flat, laser. He will occasionally display the ability to get the ball over a second level defender and put it on the spot, but he really has a difficult time making so called bucket throws. Thomas is at his best when he has a lane to the target and can zip the ball in, which is good in that he has that ability, but bad in that he tends to rely on that part of his game.
Mechanics & Footwork
When it comes to his throwing mechanics, the upper body for Thomas is interesting. He goes high with his arm and sets his elbow higher than most and drives forward to throw the ball. What makes him unique is the fact that he can short arm the ball and get a ton of arm into it. As a result, he has instances where he can stop his arm and then throw it or start from almost anywhere in his motion and get plenty into his throws. That part of his game is a nice asset.
His footwork is a mess and he almost has to start over and work from the beginning. There is just so little rhyme or reason to what he is doing and guessing what he is going to do in any circumstance is a complete crap shoot.
When he has time and drops back, he can demonstrate good footwork, bounce off of his pack step and throw, but it looks robotic and like he is thinking about it when it happens. It is not muscle memory and it needs to be. The times Thomas is not in his rhythm, he can throw off of a step, no step, or a lean. His arm is so strong that he has never really gotten accustomed to throwing his legs in a rhythm or pattern.
When Thomas feels pressure or is in a rush, the different ways he will use his legs show themselves and his balance and weight shift can be off creating accuracy issues. It is difficult to have a sense of muscle memory and confidence throwing accuracy when it comes out at so many different points.
On screens or some throws where he has pressure coming up the middle, Thomas will almost jump backwards off of his front foot and almost throw jump passes. The accuracy on these passes is mediocre for the most part.
Thomas needs a lot of time, rep and coaching to hammer out these details, eliminate bad habits and train good ones, so he can be predictable in how he is going to operate with his legs. If he can do that, he can clear up his mechanical issues and be a far more consistent passer.
Probably in large part due to his huge size and strength, Thomas is able to trust his legs and wait until defenders are on him to avoid them or work the pocket. He is not afraid to step up in the pocket, but does have far too many examples where he throws those jump passes going backward.
He is not afraid to pull down the ball and go forward and he is strong enough where that is a big threat and forces opponents to at least be more aware of staying in their lanes attacking up the middle. If the play is not there, Thomas will just pull it down and rush forward when the pressure is coming from the outside, which is a pain for defenses to account.
As much of a problem he has in other areas, his ability to sense the pocket is low on the list of concerns he needs to work to improve.
Decision Making & Anticipation
Thomas’s decision making has a lot of work to do as does his anticipation. His lack of experience at the position really shows here as he needs to work on his ability to read defenses, manipulate defenses with his eyes and just anticipating what is being thrown at him. There are times when he makes inexplicable throws right to defenders and he just did not see them or expect them.
Too often, he needs to see a wide open receiver to believe it and that will be too late in the NFL. At times, it has been a problem in college. Thomas needs to be able to know a guy is going to be open before it happens and make the right decision and throw the ball to make them to get there when they are open. With his arm strength, this should be an easier process than it is for many quarterbacks.
This is certainly an area where Thomas has a lot of people intrigued. He is enormous and too big and too strong for many defenders with enough speed to make him dangerous. He can extend plays with his legs, get outside and make throws, but he is far more comfortable pulling the ball down and running with it.
There is no question that Thomas can be a weapon as a runner with by design or as a result of scrambling. While he may not win many foot races, he is definitely someone who can pick up first downs or score touchdowns when he takes off with the football. Defenses have to account for it, which should help create opportunities to make throws.
The system is almost irrelevant in terms of what it does. Perhaps a more vertical offense would sit him because of his arm and creating space for him to run would be better, but he can conceivably play in any offense the same at this point. That is largely the issue.
The more important issue for Thomas is that he ends up with a stable organization and a coaching staff that will be there to work with him for a few years. Ideally, he would be a third string quarterback with the ability to disappear for a few years and just work to get better at being a quarterback. He can either be a future trade piece or become a viable quarterback option at that point.
Thomas is similar to Josh Freeman who came out of Kansas State with similar size and athleticism, but some of the same consistency issues. Freeman was able to make it work for a little while before running into some issues the past few years. Nevertheless, the talent is there and he, like Thomas, needs time to just get with a team and work on his game and get into good habits and increase his confidence.
Logan Thomas is going to be a player to keep an eye in the draft process, because he is so polarizing. Some see a player who has a ton of ability and physical potential that needs to be harnessed and aimed properly, while others see someone who should be playing tight end again. From his physical talent to his arm talent, Thomas looks the part to be a franchise quarterback. The way he was developed has been somewhat problematic and it has shown in his inconsistent results. Thomas needs to go to a good, stable environment and just get back to fundamental football, establish good habits and eliminate the bad ones. If he can do that, he could end up realizing all of the potential he has displayed at various times in his collegiate career. Thomas projects as a third day pick but is much closer to the top 100 than some might expect and it would not be a huge surprise if he went in the third round with all he can do.
Some of the film used in this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com