Opening day of the Major League Baseball season is a good time to mention that Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas had the highest velocity among the quarterbacks who threw at last month's NFL Scouting Combine.
A Thomas pass was clocked at 60 mph during his combine workout, according to figures posted by Ourlads' Guide to the NFL Draft. Miami's Stephen Morris was second at 59 mph and Pitt's Tom Savage third at 57 mph.
Dan Shonka, Ourlads' general manager and national scout, said "the radar-gun shooter stands behind the receiver" to measure the speed of the throw and that the mph is not an average but rather one throw.
Thomas' mph reading is the fastest in the past seven combines. Among some notable past performances are the 59 mph reached by Colin Kaepernick in 2011 (3 mph faster than Cam Newton that year), the 59 mph reached by Brandon Weeden in 2012, the 55 mph reached by Russell Wilson in 2011, the 54 mph reached by E.J. Manuel in 2013 and the 55 mph reached by Joe Flacco in 2008.
Tyler Bray, Kirk Cousins and Zac Dysert are the other quarterbacks to hit 59 mph since 2008, and the quarterbacks to hit 58 mph are Austin Davis, Ryan Mallett, Mike Reilly, Drew Willy and John Parker Wilson. (Not exactly a who's who of quarterbacks, huh?)
That Thomas looks to have the strongest arm in this draft should surprise no one. Arm strength never has been an issue with him. But every other thing that comes with playing quarterback has been an issue for Thomas, from his mechanics to his decision-making to his accuracy. While he was a three-year starter for the Hokies who threw for 9,005 yards and 53 touchdowns, he also tossed 39 interceptions and completed just 55.6 percent of his passes.
In addition, his best season came in 2011, when he was a sophomore. He seemed to regress as a junior and senior. He had his moments in those two seasons, including a 293-yard, three-TD performance in a win over North Carolina as a senior, but they were overshadowed by 10 games in which he completed fewer than 53 percent of his passes, including seven outings in which he completed fewer than 50 percent.
Thomas has an upside because of his size (6-foot-6, 248 pounds, excellent athleticism and, yes, arm strength, and there undoubtedly are some quarterback coaches and offensive coordinators who are confident that they can tap into that potential and mold him into a starter. The tools are there, said NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock: "If you could figure out Logan Thomas, he has starting quarterback credentials."
But drafting Thomas is a gamble, no matter what round in which he is selected. Selecting him before the third or fourth round would seem to be folly, and even a fifth-round selection might be stretching it.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.