While former Toledo Rocket Michael Roberts fights to make the Detroit Lions roster, there is one former quarterback standing in his way.
Even though Roberts continues to train to get in better shape and make the coaches notice, there are three tight ends that made some noise at minicamp. And he is unfortunately not one of them.
Although the tight end position was a bit of a weakness for the Lions last season, general manager Bob Quinn made a lot of moves to make an impact at that position. Players like Jesse James, T.J. Hockenson, Isaac Nauta, and Logan Thomas were all added to the roster this offseason.
While Thomas played quarterback in college and was drafted in the sixth round of the NFL draft in 2014, a position change to tight end has helped keep his pro career alive.
The switch may have been hard initially for Thomas, but he kept grinding. He made a small impact on the Buffalo Bills, where in two years he caught 19 balls for 144 yards and a touchdown. He also made key blocks to help in the running game.
After Thomas and the Bills parted ways this offseason, he signed with the Lions in March earlier this year, where he was a member of Detroit’s practice squad three years ago. That’s when Quinn originally saw potential in the 6-foot-6 athlete. Here’s what the Lions’ GM told DetroitLions.com’s Mike O’Hara about the former passer.
"“I always kind of circled back and watched [Thomas] the last couple of years in Buffalo. I thought he was a good second-wave guy (as a free agent this year) to add depth to that position. We don’t think he’s kind of hit his ceiling.”"
Times have changed since Thomas’ last time with the Lions. He’s now starting the thrive in his new role, and has found something in Detroit that he hasn’t had his whole career: stability. New offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell uses a two-tight-end scheme, so having Thomas on the roster to back up Hockenson and James on the roster is crucial.
At 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, Thomas ran an impressive 4.61 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He had a vertical jump of 35-6 inches and a standing broad jump of 9 feet, 10 inches, making him more than capable of being a quality blocker and winning jump balls against defensive backs.
Logan Thomas’ ability to get separation from defenders, ability to be a threat in the red zone, and tenacity is what will ultimately help him succeed with the Detroit Lions. Maybe Michael Roberts and Thomas can both survive cuts come August, but what is an absolute certainty is the fact that some healthy combination between the two can help them both improve.