It’s no secret what the Arizona Cardinals brass is up to right now.
Head coach Bruce Arians spent Wednesday at his alma mater, Virginia Tech, running quarterback Logan Thomas through drills and figuring out what makes the young man tick.
There seems to also be a lot of negativity around Thomas, but there’s a lot of talent in that 6-foot-6, 248-pound frame — talent that is sure to have many GMs and scouts wondering if they could be the team to pull it out of him.
What do they see?
Where could he go?
Does he fit the Bruce Arians quarterback profile?
• Thomas has an outstanding size profile, he’s thickly-built with broad shoulders and good upper and lower-body weight distribution.
• Thomas is extremely athletic — he was a highly recruited tight end prospect coming out of high school.
• Excellent at using size and athleticism to evade pressure and shrugging off would-be sacks.
• Shows elite arm strength, with the ability to get zip on the ball to all levels of the field.
• Puts the ball into tight windows that few other quarterbacks can.
• Good, over-the-top throwing motion.
• Throws well on the move.
• Erratic, streaky passer who gets really hot and extremely cold.
• Pocket presence is hit-and-miss, doesn’t sense pass rushers off the back side.
• Struggles with footwork and mechanics far too often, like he is still learning to play the position.
• Doesn’t throw with anticipation, has to see an open receiver to make a throw.
• Ball placement suffers because of mechanical problems and the inability to throw to spots.
Thomas was the buzz of the NFL Draft world heading into the 2012 college football season after putting up respectable numbers as a sophomore. He completed 59.8 percent of his passes with 19 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions, but his growth seemed to stall from there, at least on the surface.
Thomas did his best work in the intermediate zones (10-19 yards) last season but he STRUGGLED with getting the ball deep.
Thomas also didn’t get much help. Hokies’ receivers dropped an NCAA-worst 39 passes in 2013.
The average number of drops per season in the NFL for the receiver position is about 20, which would raise Thomas’ not-so-good completion percentage from 56.5 to a much more palatable 61.4.
Thomas needs to be broken down and built back up again. He’s the definition of an unfinished product, but his natural talents, size and athleticism makes him the perfect type of wait-and-see quarterback.
There are also other player traits Thomas possesses that need to be looked at. His time at tight end in high school, his size and his athleticism makes him a great candidate for a positional change if he doesn’t pan out as a quarterback.
His ceiling may be higher than anyone else’s in this draft at the quarterback position, but his floor may be the lowest, and that’s where the NFL franchises will have to lean on their coaches and player development.
Here’s the deal — no quarterback in this draft, or maybe in the last several drafts, fits the Bruce Arians profile of a quarterback more than Logan Thomas.
He’s a big, strong, downfield passer, with the size and mobility to extend plays and evade defenders to get big plays down the field.
Thomas has a lot of similarities to Ben Roethlisberger, but with more mobility. The problem is he doesn’t have the passing chops of even a middling NFL quarterback at this point.
With the team of Arians, offensive guru Tom Moore, quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens, and with Carson Palmer already in place, the Cardinals have the team necessary to bring Thomas along slowly, develop him and give him the chance to figure things out on the field.
If he’s able to get the basics of quarterbacking, the sky may be the limit, but there’s a large chasm between where Thomas is and where he needs to get to if he’s ever to be an NFL-caliber starting quarterback.
If he gets there, though, his abilities lend themselves to being a great fit in the Bruce Arians downfield passing game, giving the Cardinals that young quarterback of the future they so desperately need.
The last thing to figure out is where do the Cardinals like him (if at all) versus where does the rest of the NFL likes him?
There seems to be an idea that maybe, just maybe Thomas will go on day two of the NFL Draft, and if that’s the spot, do the Cardinals feel comfortable taking a stab in round two or three?
We’ll know soon enough.