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Kiper's picks: Uphill battle for ACC QBs

Mel Kiper Jr. has made three full rounds of picksInsider -- 100 in total -- for his "Grade A" draft, and the ACC is well-represented from start to finish.

The finish, though, might be the most intriguing.

While most ACC fans are well aware of the draft projections for the likes of Sammy Watkins and Eric Ebron, the NFL future of former Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas is far less predictable. Kiper, who assumed the role of GM for every team and picked the player he thought was the best available for that particular spot, chose Thomas last, with the San Francisco 49ers:

" ... I love the idea of letting Jim Harbaugh work with Thomas as a developmental project at either QB or tight end," Kiper wrote. "(Thomas really could pull off the conversion if he wanted to.)"

Many Virginia Tech fans have clamored that Thomas has been a tight end all along, but here is a very revealing stat to back up what coach Frank Beamer and his assistants have been saying for years: Thomas needed a better supporting cast.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Virginia Tech had an AQ-high 36 drops last season. If the Hokies had caught just half of those passes, Thomas’ completion percentage would rise from 56 percent to 61 percent.

Another interesting late-round quarterback pick is Pitt's Tom Savage, whom Kiper selected at No. 88 in the third round to the Cincinnati Bengals:

"Savage has starting upside, and he's among the strongest arms in the draft," Kiper wrote. "He was beaten up behind bad blocking at Pitt, but is the kind of upside this roster could use behind Andy Dalton."

Kiper isn't overstating the hits Savage took last season. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Savage was under duress on 28 percent of his dropbacks, the highest percentage of any QB prospect. As a result, Savage was sacked an FBS-high 43 times last season.

Both quarterbacks obviously have something to prove at the next level, but they were also both limited in some ways last season by the surrounding talent. Neither of them performed as well as Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, who isn't even listed in Kiper's draft. Regardless of how their careers unfold, all of them are in a position to at least have a chance. Stay tuned to see who's willing to give them one.