The 2014 NFL Draft class was filled with big-name quarterbacks.
The Jacksonville Jaguars took Blake Bortles, who led unheralded UCF to a Tostitos Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor, with the third overall pick.
Arguably the most famous college quarterback ever, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, went 22nd to the Cleveland Browns. Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville was picked by the Minnesota Vikings with the 32nd and final pick of the first round back in May.
Two other quarterbacks — Derek Carr of Fresno State and Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois — were selected in the draft’s second round.
The first quarterback picked in the fourth round was Logan Thomas of Virginia Tech, selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the 120th overall selection.
Many critics slammed the pick saying Thomas wasn’t accurate enough in college (he completed 55.6 percent of his passes) or that he was “a project.”
Worst of all, many pundits figured Thomas’ future in the NFL was at the tight end position.
It may have been only one half of one preseason football game, but Thomas has taken a big step toward silencing his critics. The 6-foot-6, 254-pound rookie completed 11-of-12 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown pass in the Cardinals’ 32-0 dismantling of the Houston Texans last Saturday at University of Phoenix Stadium.
People, like ESPN’s Ron Jaworski, took notice.
“When I plugged the tape in yesterday morning, and I saw Logan Thomas, I was shocked. He was fantastic in this game. He’s big, strong, and he can rip throws,” Jaworski said on SportsCenter Wednesday morning. “Of all the rookie quarterbacks that I have watched so far, yes, early in the preseason, Logan Thomas has been the best that I have seen. Unbelievable performance.”
The ever-humble Thomas took the high praise in stride.
“I appreciate it,” he told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “I guess I had a pretty decent game Saturday. I had a lot of fun, but I can’t take all the credit — I had some good plays from my receivers.”
Thomas played 42 snaps in all against Houston after veterans Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton took their turns on the field. Standing on the sidelines and observing for two quarters helped the rookie before he got on the field.
“I figured I’d be a lot more nervous going into it, but I think a lot of the help was being able to watch the first half and get adjusted to it and then being able just to sit back, relax and do my own thing in the second half,” he said.
Thomas said thanks to the Cardinals coaching staff, he’s been able to address and correct a lot of the accuracy issues that dogged him during his time at Virginia Tech. Oh, and he uses that tight end thing as fuel to motivate him.
“A coach called me two days before the draft — I’m not going to name who it was — but he said ‘if you’re still sitting around in the sixth or seventh round, we’re going to take you as a tight end,’ Thomas said.
“It kind of hit me. I told him ‘good luck with me being there in the sixth or seventh round. If it comes to that, we’ll talk about it, but I don’t think it’s going to come to that.’ He was like ‘oh yeah, I guess we’ll see on Saturday where you’re going to be at.’ Right then, it kind of hit me that they don’t think I can do it, so I have to go out and prove my point.”
For as good as Thomas was in the opener, he won’t see playing time Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings. Instead, third-year veteran Ryan Lindley will take third-team snaps as he tries to beat out Thomas for a spot on the Cardinals’ 53-man roster.
“It’s going to be tough because I’m a competitor,” Thomas said of having to watch Lindley. “I want to be able to go out there and do it and I’m not really doing as much in practice as I have been, so I have to be mentally engaged with everything.
“That’s the hardest thing behind it, but I understand how things work and I’ll be supportive no matter what.”