The Detroit Lions added several quality tight ends to their roster this offseason. But here’s one nobody but the tight ends coach himself is talking about.
The Detroit Lions had to do something about their tight end depth chart this offseason. After jettisoning former first-round bust turned Pro Bowler Eric Ebron to the Indianapolis Colts last offseason, the Lions failed to land any big-name tight ends to replace him.
Instead, the Lions cobbled together veteran free agent signings Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo plus former fourth-rounder Michael Roberts and made themselves a makeshift tight end group to suffer with in 2018. And suffer they did.
The combination of Willson, Toilolo, and Roberts posted a combined 43 receptions for 450 yards and four touchdowns. In comparison, Ebron finished last season recording 66 catches for 750 yards and 13 scores while starting in just eight games for the Colts. Ouch.
So this offseason, Detroit retooled the position. Gone are veterans Willson and Toilolo. Welcome free agent veteran Jesse James formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Lions’ first-round selection Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson and fellow rookie seventh-rounder Isaac Nauta out of Georgia. But Detroit also added another tight end this offseason, one that had been on the team briefly before.
"“[Thomas has] been impressive. He’s a really good athlete. He can run and catch, he’s long. All those guys, we’ve got really big catch-radius guys, good hand-eye coordination. I’m looking forward to seeing them with pads on, for sure, especially Logan.”"
Coming out of Virginia Tech in 2014, Thomas was as a 6-foot-6, 248-pound quarterback with off-the-chart athletic ability. When he made the transition to tight end two years later, it was the Lions that first signed him to their practice squad. Two days later, the Buffalo Bills signed Thomas away from Detroit to their active roster.
For over two years, the Bills have been investing in helping Thomas make the transition to tight end. And the dividends started to pay off last season as the 27-year old posted a seven reception, 40-yard performance against the Chicago Bears in Week Nine, an NFC North rival of the Lions.
When the Bills opted not to offer a tender on Thomas as a restricted free agent this offseason, Detroit jumped on the opportunity to sign the versatile athlete once again.
Undoubtedly, Logan Thomas faces an uphill battle to make the Detroit Lions’ 53-man roster due to the amount of talent the team brought in this offseason. But it’s clear that Lions’ general manager Bob Quinn is intrigued by Thomas’ athletic ability and he’ll be given every chance this summer to earn a spot on the depth chart.