Lions’ Logan Thomas in ‘kindergarten’ as he converts to TE

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Logan Thomas

Allen Park – After waiting two and a half years for an opportunity that never came, Logan Thomas realized it was time to make a change.

A three-year starting quarterback at Virginia Tech, Thomas was drafted in the fourth round by the Arizona Cardinals in 2014 and appeared in only two games.

He didn’t stick around long and was released before spending time on practice squad with the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants.

When Thomas worked out for the Detroit Lions two weeks ago, general manager Bob Quinn floated the idea about making a switch to tight end. It wasn’t the first time Thomas had heard the suggestion. Some NFL teams inquired about making the move as he was coming out of college.

But after talking with family and friends, Thomas decided it was the best opportunity for him to play, so he signed with the Lions Monday as a tight end.

“There was a handful of teams that have talked to me about (converting to tight end) and I just wasn't ready to give up on it yet,” Thomas said. “I'm still not ready to completely give up on quarterback because you never know what a fourth quarterback can do – wildcat or whatever it might be.

“I knew I had a high ceiling at quarterback, but there comes a day when you got to say, ‘OK’ and this past week was that day.”

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The Lions already have three tight ends on the active roster in Eric Ebron, Matthew Mulligan and Clay Harbor, as well as Khari Lee on the practice squad. However, Thomas’ signing is a move for the future.

Thomas said he ran some tight end routes during a workout with the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 6. Prior to that, he took two snaps as a receiver during his four-year career at Virginia Tech and hasn’t played receiver since his sophomore year at Brookville High in Campbell County, Va.

The plan is to develop Thomas, who has little to no experience blocking, the rest of the season and into the spring as he adjusts to playing and seeing the game from a different point of view.

"It's just a day-by-day step,” Thomas said. “It's just getting the basics. I'm in kindergarten when these guys are in a pro level, so I'm going to have to kind of be like Billy Madison and go through it as fast as I can."

Thomas is just the latest quarterback to change positions after entering the league. Tim Tebow signed with the New England Patriots as a hybrid tight end but was released before the regular season, while Terrelle Pryor has flourished as a wide receiver with the Cleveland Browns.

“I don't fault anybody for not wanting to give up on it,” Thomas said. “Quarterback is the position in the limelight and that's the one that makes or breaks games. That's the one that makes the big contracts so you don't want to let go, but I understand it completely.

“I think it takes a different type of person to understand and make the move, too. I come into it very humbled but excited and ready to go."

Twitter @jamesbhawkins