NEW YORK -- With a two-time BCS national champion in AJ McCarron, the SEC's all-time leading passer in Aaron Murray, and one of the NFL draft's late, hot names in Tom Savage still available, the Arizona Cardinals made Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas the first quarterback chosen on the draft's final day Saturday.
Thomas was taken No. 120 overall in the fourth round, giving coach Bruce Arians something he appreciates more than most: a cannon-strong arm that can deliver the football vertically like few others. But he also inherits an unfinished project in the 6-foot-6, 248-pound Thomas, who was inconsistent at the college level and is lacking in accuracy, according to scouts.
Thomas' velocity was measured at 60 mph at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, the best such recording in the past seven combines. Yet, he may have been drafted as much for his overall athleticism as his passing arm, as some scouts have suggested his future is at the tight end position.
Thomas struggled at the Reese's Senior Bowl, but with Cam Newton-like size and plenty of arm strength, Arians has something to work with for his fourth-round investment, presuming he is developed as a quarterback.
"Give me this clay ... and let me teach him the game. ... Let me chisel away," Stanford coach David Shaw, a guest draft analyst on NFL Network, said Saturday of Arians' logic.
Added NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock: "He's got 25 or 30 (game) tapes out there. Twenty-three of them are bad."
LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, another quarterback Arians passed on for Thomas, was Mayock's best available player at the time of the pick. George Whitfield, the private quarterback coach for both Thomas and Cleveland Browns' first-round pick Johnny Manziel, was quick with congratulations on social media:
The Thomas pick might leave the draft's remaining quarterbacks with one fewer possible destination. Other clubs that could invest a Day 3 pick in a quarterback include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.