Logan Thomas and Tom Savage, Missing the Mark

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With the draft extended out an extra two weeks, people are getting stir crazy. It seems like every day there’s a new prospect getting crazy amounts of praise that is probably a long shot at best to succeed in the NFL. A week ago it was Tom Savage, yesterday it was Logan Thomas.

The Tywin Lannister of House Rotoviz already touched on the skepticism of Thomas being labeled as the “Best Thrower” in this class by Greg Cosell.  In that post, he mentioned how Thomas’ extremely poor completion percentage was a big deal.  While the use of data hasn’t been perfected for quarterbacks, completion percentage, interception ratio and yards per attempt are kind of important. Not that if you’re strong in those fields you’re guaranteed success, but being poor in those areas is pretty likely detrimental to your future endeavors.

There are plenty of scouts and coaches whose subjective assesssment of the intangibles a quarterback possesses allow themselves to being blinded into thinking they or a team can burn an early to mid-round draft pick on a quarterback with already poor accuracy and decision-making, and then somehow get him to perform. Those traits rarely improve at the next level, but again, here we are.

Admittedly, Thomas has some freaky athletic qualities, but ones that NFL teams have been reluctant to utilize at all so far. If a team were drafting him with the aspirations of using him as a specialty player in sub packages or for short yardage rushing, he could serve a purpose. But someone out there truly believes they can be the key to turning him into an NFL level passer. Savage doesn’t offer much athletically, but he’s built in the throwback pocket passer mold (6’4” 228) with supposedly the arm to match. Brett Smith was faster than Thomas at his pro day and has far more passing acumen when compared to Thomas. If you want a project as a passer, he’d be the route to take.

Both Thomas (55.6 percent) and Savage (56.7) are well under that 60 percent completion percentage threshold for their careers, but are getting a late push here before the draft.  Below is the list of every college quarterback that was drafted since 2000 with a 59 percent completion percentage or lower and their completion percentage in the NFL careers.

Out of the 25 players selected, only five pushed their NFL completion percentage over 60 percent. Jim Sorgi is the leader, and he never even started a game in his NFL career. Jay Cutler is the most successful player to raise his percentage, but he was also the number eleven pick in 2006, so he was believed to be more than a project. Looking at the list, there are eight first round selections here, and only three are still playing. Matthew Stafford has just one NFL season with a completion percentage over 60 percent and a career mark below. Like Cutler, he was a top pick; the top pick in fact and owes Calvin Johnson a great deal. The other first rounders are littered with guys who struggled with accuracy for all of their brief stints in the league.

We also can figure out why no team has really traded an early pick for Ryan Mallett yet, even though it’s been a rumor for two off seasons. I suppose seeing Colin Kaepernick here would give someone the hope that Thomas can be used in a similar fashion at some point, but even Kaepernick completed 65 percent of his passes as a senior and his low interception rate, along with high yards per attempt have followed him into the league. Neither of which attributes are possessed by Thomas.

The true odds that either Savage or Thomas will have an impact at the next level are miniscule unless they were to come with the stigma of being drafted in the first round. Even then it would be hard to envision improvement based on these results. Most likely, whoever spends a pick in the middle of the draft on either player is just burning money in their wallet because they’re going to get exactly what they paid for, not what they’re planning on getting down the road.

DraftedPlayerSchoolCmpAttNCAA %NFL COMP %
1Matthew StaffordGeorgia56498757.159.5
3Joey HarringtonOregon38169754.756.1
8Jake LockerWashington619114853.957.2
11Jay CutlerVanderbilt710124257.261
19Kyle BollerCalifornia52110415056.7
22J.P. LosmanTulane57098757.859.2
22Brady QuinnNotre Dame92916025853.8
32Patrick RamseyTulane48583857.956
36Colin KaepernickNevada740127158.259.8
69Andrew WalterArizona State777141654.952.3
74Ryan MallettArkansas55295557.80
85Brodie CroyleAlabama48886956.256.7
88Dave RagoneLouisville68411795850
92Trent EdwardsStanford48886856.260.6
97Chris SimmsTexas5168755958.1
108David GarrardEast Carolina32860254.561.6
176Rusty SmithFlorida Atlantic768136156.451.1
180Tyrod TaylorVirginia Tech49586557.254.3
185Ryan LindleySan Diego State961173255.552
193Jim SorgiWisconsin28751755.563.5
202John NavarreMichigan744132756.150
209Matt FlynnLouisiana State24543756.161.9
213Derek AndersonOregon State768151550.752.8
217Cody PickettWashington792136957.940
241Ken DorseyMiami (FL)594103357.552.5
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