As the NFL Draft approaches it remains unclear which direction San Francisco 49ers GM Trent Baalke will go in as far as their backup quarterback is concerned. Do they re-sign QB Colt McCoy or draft a young quarterback to groom? Those are questions that will need to be answered sooner rather than later, and if Baalke and Co. decide to draft their next signal caller, do not be surprised if they target Virginia Tech product QB Logan Thomas.
A player that was once considered a top five prospect by ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Thomas’ draft stock has quickly spiraled to the point where some consider him no better than a late seventh-round selection. However, I would be first to argue that while he may not have the statistics of a QB Teddy Bridgewater, he is a prospect worthy of a fifth-round pick.
For starters, Thomas was a converted tight-end. That’s right, Thomas was a highly recruited tight-end coming out of Brookville High School. And despite Thomas playing quarterback, defensive back, and wide receiver, Virginia Tech thought it would be best if they utilized Thomas’ athleticism at a skill position. At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Thomas has the H-W-S (Height, Weight, Speed) to excel at the NFL level. Not to mention, Thomas has the agility, athleticism, and strength to sustain NFL hits, the question remains which team will take a chance on the high risk/high reward Thomas? Well considering the 49ers already have their franchise quarterback in QB Colin Kaepernick, look for them to now fulfill the backup with Thomas.
Aside from being a converted tight-end, Thomas will now have the luxury of learning under quarterback guru/49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. We all saw what Harbaugh can do with limited talent, as he transformed QB Alex Smith into a starting caliber NFL quarterback, so bringing Thomas along should be no different. And if Thomas for some reason is unable to grasp the offense, look for the 49ers to use him in a QB Kordell Stewart slash role as Thomas can play tight-end, wide receiver, and possibly special teams.
However, if Thomas is indeed the backup moving forward, Harbaugh will definitely need to work on his pocket presence, as he sometimes becomes too dependent on his offensive line, evident by being sacked five times at this year’s Senior Bowl. A trait that can be learned, it will be Harbaugh’s guidance that will be instrumental to Thomas’ growth.
With the 49ers likely targeting a backup quarterback in this year’s draft, look for Thomas and QB Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois) to be Baalke’s targets as they look to solidify the backup quarterback position for years to come while also finding value with their versatility in the later rounds.