It is never too early for NFL Draft talk. After all, we've at least seen enough of the college football season to judge whether preseason predictions and scouting reports have held up.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper conducted a conference call this week with reporters, and while Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas has hurt his stock with a down junior season -- for both himself and his team -- he remains a top draft prospect if he chooses to leave school early. Kiper still sees Thomas "in the first-round discussion" even during a year in which he has 14 interceptions and a 53.6 completion percentage. The Hokies are 4-6 overall and started Thursday tied with Virginia for last place in the ACC Coastal Division with a 2-4 conference record.
"Some of it isn't [Thomas'] fault. He's had a new offensive line that has struggled at times, no [running back] David Wilson," Kiper said. "But he's got physical gifts that nobody else has, and in a quarterback year where there are a lot of question marks ... it's a year where he probably would be still evaluated fairly highly."
Wilson, Virginia Tech's star running back, turned pro after last season. The receivers haven't really helped Thomas much in 2012. But Kiper insists that Thomas has the most overall talent of any quarterback available in the draft. Even if his performance doesn't match that scouting report right now, there are enough NFL teams intrigued by his combination of size, mobility and arm strength that they won't let Thomas slip past the third round. He has said publicly, however, that he plans to return for his senior season. If Thomas wants to rebuild his stock as a high first-round pick, that is a legitimate option.
- Brian McNally