These things usually crack me up. Not only do some draft gurus predict where players might go, but they predict how teams are going to finish record-wise, as if anybody really has that keen of a sense of how NFL teams will finish the following year. Of all the sports leagues, it’s the least predictable.
BUT, it’s always fun to look at these projections, especially when there’s a Hokie involved. And most draft prognosticators have quarterback Logan Thomas pretty high on their list. Here’s a sampling of some mock drafts that have Thomas in them:
** Thomas got the most praise from ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., who, in this video, ranks Thomas as the second-best prospect in the 2013 draft class behind USC’s Matt Barkley.
He said Thomas, with a big year, could possibly jump Barkley, who is not the biggest quarterback at just a shade under 6-foot-2.
“Thomas has all the physical capabilities,” Kiper said. “He has the ‘wow’ factor from Virginia Tech. He has that 6-5 frame, the howitzer for an arm and if he has a big year, then all of a sudden he ascends up.”
** Kiper’s partner at ESPN, Todd McShay, projected Thomas to go 17th to the Buffalo Bills in his extremely early 2013 mock draft (it’s an Insider article here). That’s the No. 2 quarterback off the board behind Barkley, who he has going to Oakland at No. 6.
How accurate is McShay? Here’s his top-10 last year at this time: 1. Andrew Luck (went No. 1); 2. UNC DE Quinton Coples (went No. 16); 3. Barkley (stayed in school); 4. USC OT Matt Kalil (went No. 3); 5. Michigan State DT Jerel Worthy (went No. 51); 6. UNC DE Donte Paige-Moss (undrafted); 7. USC WR Alshon Jeffery (went No. 45); 8. Virginia Tech CB Jayron Hosley (went No. 94); 9. Stanford OT Jonathan Martin (went No. 42) and 10. Florida CB Janoris Jenkins (went No. 39).
So … yeah. While Luck and Kalil were top-five picks, the rest of the group didn’t nearly live up to expectations, with six of McShay’s top 10 not going in the first round. Also, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III wasn’t in his first-round projection.
This is not to fault McShay. This is nearly an impossible task to rank players this far in advance. So take any projection you see for what it’s worth.
** The USA Today has Thomas ranked as the 10th best prospect. Here’s the blurb it had with it:
Prototypical size with a cannon arm and questions about his accuracy … remind you of anyone? Analysts compare Thomas to 2011 No. 1 pick Cam Newton, and ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. says Thomas could play his way into the top spot. “Logan Thomas has that ‘wow’ factor,” Kiper says. After passing for 3,013 yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his first season as a starter, the wild card of the 2013 draft could choose to forgo it with one more year of eligibility remaining. Says the National Football Post’s Wes Bunting, “I’d roll the dice on Thomas.”
** CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler isn’t quite as high on Thomas, ranking him 44th on his top 50 list. That’s sixth among quarterbacks.
** Here are two others that I found, although I’m not too certain about how respectable the sites are: Walter Football has Thomas going sixth to the Raiders and Mocking the Draft as him going 12th to the Chiefs.
** This Sports Illustrated mock mentions him as a possibility at No. 23, where it has the Chiefs taking Oklahoma QB Landry Jones.
Now, what will Thomas do? He’s only a junior and has two years of eligibility left. It’s always tough to tell what an athlete will do, especially this early. What if he doesn’t quite have the year everyone thinks he will? Will that affect his decision? Does Thomas, who is still relatively new to the quarterback position, think he needs more time to develop at Tech? Does he simply like college enough to just stick around through his senior year?
There are cases on both sides. Newton and Griffin had huge years as juniors, won the Heisman trophy and declared. Luck chose to come back when he would have been a top-five pick, as did Barkley. Quarterbacks, who aren’t as prone to injuries as other positions, have that luxury to wait if they want.
The lesson is: nobody knows but Thomas, who hasn’t given any indication one way or another (or that he’s even thought about it this early). It’ll make for an interesting backdrop to the 2013 season, though.