Two dreaded words frequently come to mind when talking about Logan Thomas: On paper.
The Buffalo Bills’ tight end has measurables that scream mismatch. At 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, Thomas is the physical prototype for his position. There’s also his 4.6 40 time.
On paper, however, did not translate on to the field last season for Thomas, who finished with just seven catches for 67 yards and one touchdown in 12 games. He was a healthy inactive four times when the Bills went with blocking tight end Khari Lee on game days.
It’s important to mention that last season was Thomas’ first full year spent as a tight end at the NFL level. He was drafted by Arizona as a quarterback out of Virginia Tech, and did not make the switch to tight end until the 2016 season. Viewed through that lens, Thomas’ 2017 season can be called a success in that he earned a spot on the 53-man roster.
“I think it's just step one,” Thomas said. “I hold myself to a higher standard. Obviously I can be a lot better. Every time I step on the field, I progress. Hopefully this training camp and preseason, I keep taking those steps.”
Thomas’ progress over the spring was stunted by arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. The injury actually occurred last season, but finally required attention in the spring. The timetable for recovery was set at 4 to 6 weeks, meaning Thomas should be fully healthy by the time the Bills report to St. John Fisher College for training camp at the end of July.
“Really it's just about getting snaps at the position,” Thomas said. “You can technically say that I was a rookie at the position last year. Yeah, I understand offense and stuff like that, but first time playing the position, first time really getting any action at it.”
That experience gave Thomas a confidence boost this offseason. He had four good practices during the team’s organized team activities before needing surgery.
“It’s understanding the game, really,” he said. “You don't have to think about, ‘What do I have to do here?’ The mind tangles up the feet. When your mind is clear, you can play fast, play confidently. If you're not really worried about some of that stuff, that helps.”
The tantalizing potential is still there, which is why the Bills made Thomas a qualifying offer as an exclusive rights free agent. If he can turn on paper into on the field, the Bills will have a pair of tight ends – with Thomas joining starter Charles Clay – that defenses need to concern themselves with.
“That's what I came into this offseason planning to do,” Thomas said. "I'm excited to get to the preseason, make some plays and show them what I can do.”