I was not a big fan of the Logan Thomas draft pick last season.
Never liked him at Virginia Tech and didn’t think he would make it as a NFL quarterback. But, Arizona liked his 6-foot-6 size, arm strength and thought he would be worth developing.
No one in the Cardinals organization believed he was going to be ready to play in his rookie season and most believed he wouldn’t be ready to play in year two, either. He was a project, someone who had tools that could eventually be developed.
Thomas, due to injuries of Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton, was forced into limited action last season, throwing nine passes with only one completion. Thomas was so raw that Arizona brought back Ryan Lindley off the San Diego Chargers practice squad and had him start the last two games of the regular season and the playoff game against the Carolina Panthers.
It wasn’t surprising that Arizona brought in Phillip Sims to compete with Thomas for the third-string quarterback job in training camp. While Sims looked good, it wasn’t surprising either that the Cardinals cut him because there is something to say about continuing the development of a player you drafted to be the possible quarterback of the future.
So, when Arizona cut Thomas and traded with the Philadelphia Eagles for Matt Barkley, it should have been surprising.
That the Cardinals gave up on Thomas so quickly meant that they wasted their fourth-round pick last year. If Thomas was truly a player they wanted to develop, then why did they stop developing him so soon?
If the thought process was that he was going to take a few years to mature as a pro quarterback, then why stop the process after one year?
It couldn’t have been his play, because he actually did progress from year one to year two. He looked good in practices and the preseason games, completing 9-of-10 passes for 116 yards with a 59-yard scoring pass to wide receiver J.J. Nelson in the finale against the Denver Broncos.
It looked like he had won a roster spot.
That turned out to not be the case as Thomas was cut, but he was quickly claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins.
Thomas was never meant to play immediately; he was meant to work with the coaching staff and be an option for Arizona as a backup signal caller in 2016 or 2017. If Arizona was planning to keep three quarterbacks all along, why not finish what you started with Thomas?
Instead of Thomas holding the clip board and developing, the Cardinals elected to go with Barkley, a fourth-round pick who had shown nothing in his two years with Philadelphia. A player who lacks the arm strength that Thomas has.
Now, Barkley would have been a top-10 pick had he come out after his junior season. But he didn’t and USC lost five games, he got hurt, didn’t work out at the combine and fell to the fourth round.
Maybe Barkley is better than Thomas, maybe not. Time will tell. It just seemed like Arizona gave up on Thomas too soon.
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