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All-22 review: Buffalo Bills tight end Logan Thomas

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With Charles Clay’s departure, the tight end position for the Bills is officially a question mark. Is Logan Thomas the answer?

With starting tight end Charles Clay released by the Buffalo Bills, it’s fair to question what the plan will be moving forward. Despite Logan Thomas and Jason Croom taking some of Clay’s snaps in 2018, no one on the roster clearly usurped his role last season. Converted quarterback Logan Thomas saw an increase in snap counts in 2018. However he also saw fewer than newcomer Croom. Spolier alert: It’s likely safe to say Thomas won’t be taking over as the starter, but let’s take a look at what he brings to the table to see if he sticks in Buffalo for year three.


Play 1

Logan Thomas is lead blocking for Isaiah McKenzie. It’s good to see the attempt to fake a block, but the defensive lineman is unfazed and the only one who does bite a tiny bit is faster than Thomas. Add in that Thomas is supposed to be blocking at the second level and it’s an odd time for a fake. Thomas has only been a tight end for a few years and things like this are the result of him still learning the role. On the block itself, the play designs suggests cut blocks as he’s not the only one attempting one. With the timing merely being alright, and the risk of rolling onto a person’s knees, it’d be preferable to take this block on standing upright.

Play 2

Here’s another cut block from Thomas where just running into his man would have been better. The block does delay his opponent long enough to effectively remove him from the play in this case, but he’s back moving again pretty quickly. Thomas seems to use these blocks a little more often than his peers, with variable results. With occasional issues on timing, Thomas is sometimes more effective at taking himself out of a play than the defender.

Play 3

With a pretty clear blocking assignment for the play, it’s hard to imagine Thomas is supposed to be directly behind Jordan Mills. Thomas does slip out and make a hit on Myles Jack that’s pretty effective. Thomas doesn’t maintain blocks well on average, and Jack is able to disengage with a one-hand shove.

Play 4

Logan Thomas’s best blocks are quick strikes like these. With a move that’d be familiar in a mosh pit, Thomas runs into Yannick Ngakoue with his arms tucked into his body, then extends for a fast shove. The move disrupts Ngakoue’s timing, which is exactly what it’s meant for.

Play 5

Face-to-face Thomas holds up pretty well against Ngakoue on this play. Thomas seems to be focused on improvement if his footwork is any indication. He wouldn’t have made a habit of the quick lateral moves he demonstrates that keep him in front of the defender prior to the 2018 season. A sudden move and Nkagoue slips right around Thomas. Effort is on full display at the end as Thomas holds onto Ngakoue’s arm to slow him down.

Play 6

Thomas doesn’t have the best angle or body positioning as he tries to chip Deatrich Wise, Jr. on his way out to run a route. The result is Wise drastically slowing Thomas down as he shoves him away. It should also be noted that Dion Dawkins didn’t fare a whole lot better on this play.

Play 7

There’s not much to show in the passing game. For starters, Thomas was only targeted 17 times all season. Eight of those targets came in this game against the Chicago Bears with Nathan Peterman under center. Like above, Thomas tries to chip and run. He’s a little late on the chip and is lucky he’s not called for an illegal block to the back. Another reason there’s not much to show is that Thomas doesn’t have a complex route tree mastered. Targets happen mostly on throws just like this. Thomas has sure hands and could be used for chunk yardage like what occurs here, but he has a ways to go to become a complete target.

Play 8

Thomas needs to make a small adjustment with the ball a bit behind but catches it cleanly on a similar play to the one above. Between the two plays, you’ve just seen 1/6 of Thomas’s receptions for the season.


Summary

Logan Thomas hasn’t made a compelling case for himself. It’s clear he’s has put in a lot of effort to convert from quarterback to tight end, but still shows on a regular basis that it’s a new endeavor. Inconsistent blocking and an incomplete route tree negate his soft hands and high motor. Thomas could stick as a depth and special-teams player, with a decent probability of improving over time. However, the Bills should be on the lookout for a new tight end.