Logan Thomas is not Ready for the NFL
By Matthew Osborne
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Although considered to be an elite prospect for the 2013 draft, Logan Thomas is not ready for the NFL.
The Virginia Tech Hokies put the finishing touches on their worst season since 1992 Friday night, rallying from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to defeat Rutgers in overtime in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
The bowl victory will offer little solace to a Virginia Tech fan base which has grown accustom to 10-win seasons and ACC championships, but it did help the Hokies avoid their first losing season in two decades.
With the 2012 season now in the rearview mirror, Virginia Tech now looks ahead to what it hopes will be a vindicating 2013 season.
Before Hokies fans can focus on the outlook for next season’s team, though, they first must learn what the future holds for their highly talented, yet amazingly inconsistent signal caller: Logan Thomas.
Directly following his team’s come-from-behind victory in Orlando, Thomas faced the question which everyone knew was coming inevitably: Are you leaving school early to enter the 2013 NFL draft?
“I can't tell you now," Thomas responded to the question.” “I have a big decision in front of me either way it goes.”
Tough choices regarding the NFL draft are nothing new or strange to fans of college football. What is abnormal, however, is a quarterback with Thomas’ sub-par statistics considering making the jump to the next level.
Despite a lackluster junior campaign in Blacksburg, Thomas is still considered to be an extremely attractive quarterback prospect to NFL general managers. Standing a solid six-foot-six, and possessing a throwing arm strong enough to make the majority of current NFL signal callers blush, Thomas is an average college quarterback who falls into the category of a player with “outstanding pro potential”.
But aside from his ideal size and impressive arm strength, what is it about Thomas that makes NFL executives drool over his potential? After all, in his second season as the Hokies’ full-time starting quarterback, Thomas completed just 51.3% of his passing attempts for 2,976 yards, 18 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. Each of those statistics showed regression from his numbers in those respective categories in 2011.
The most common excuse you will hear for Thomas’ pedestrian collegiate stats is that he was a high school tight end who was spontaneously transformed into a college quarterback. And while it is true that nearly every college in America was recruiting Thomas as a tight end prospect (Virginia Tech included), the fact of the matter is that Thomas spent his final two seasons at Brookville High School as his team’s starting quarterback, even leading the school to an appearance in the state title game as a senior.
After the Hokies’ coaching staff informed him that he would be making the switch to quarterback right before his first ever college practice, Thomas spent his first season in Blacksburg as a redshirt before backing up Tyrod Taylor as a redshirt sophomore. Couple those two years with his two seasons spent as the starter, and Thomas has four years of collegiate quarterbacking experience to go along with his two years of signal calling at the high school level.
Many quarterbacks have been playing the position for longer than Thomas, but six seasons is still plenty of time to become comfortable with the position and to show marked improvement.
Lack of experience explains his lack of college production?
Okay, but what about the significant decline in the talent around Thomas this season in comparison to 2011? The losses of Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin surely explain why his numbers took such a drastic hit, right?
Once again, think twice.
Coale was drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys, while Boykin, despite an illustrious collegiate career, went undrafted.
This spring, the Hokies are expected to have two wide receivers – Corey Fuller and Marcus Davis – selected by NFL teams in the draft. Although you can still make the argument that Coale and Boykin were a better collegiate combination than Fuller and Davis, it is impossible to say that a quarterback had a dearth of talent at his disposal when two of his receivers are on the brink of becoming NFL draft picks.
The true fact of the matter is that all of the excuses being made for Thomas’ mediocre college career are window dressing for the real problem at hand: Logan Thomas is not an elite quarterback.
A strong arm and an ability to run with the football are just a couple of the tools which a quarterback must develop in order to be successful. He must also have high football intelligence and be accurate with the delivery of the football. It is in both of those areas where Thomas fails miserably.
Thomas is able to pull the wool over the eyes of NFL personnel when he occasionally breaks through the arm-tackle of a defensive lineman and throws a 65-yard strike downfield, but he also routinely displays a thorough inability to make the simple plays consistently when he overthrows a wide open receiver 10 yards away.
As Rick Ankiel once showed us in Major League Baseball, throwing a 95 MPH fastball is insignificant if you can’t throw it for a strike.
The same holds true for Thomas. Throwing the football 75 yards doesn’t do you much good if you can’t hit an open target at a third of that distance.
Over the past two seasons, the only consistent aspect of Thomas’ game has been his inconsistency. While he dazzles spectators with a bevy of brilliant plays, he also leaves fans puzzled with his questionable decision-making and inaccuracy.
Certainly players are capable of overcoming adversity and correcting some of their deficiencies which have haunted them in the past, but Thomas has too many flaws to his game to seriously believe that he is ready for the next level.
Although NFL draft experts are sure to tell him that he will be a high pick in the upcoming draft if he enters his name, Thomas is nowhere near ready to compete against the best football defenses in the world.
The appeal of money is always tough to turn down, but if Thomas cares about the potential success and longevity of his professional career, he will tell NFL executives that they will have to wait an additional season for his services.