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Detroit Lions mailbag: Will Logan Thomas be a red-zone threat?

With Michael Roberts out of the picture, could Logan Thomas carve out a significant role on the Lions’ offense?

NFL: Detroit Lions-Minicamp Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

With OTAs and minicamp behind us, it’s time again to revisit the Detroit Lions “Ask POD” mailbag. To submit question, tweet us using the hashtag #AskPOD or wait for our weekly Ask POD post here at Pride of Detroit.

Let’s get it.

Via SD Leeds Fan:

Who has more receiving yards in 2019: Hockenson or Kearse? Marvin Jones or Amendola?

T.J. Hockenson should get a lot more looks than Jermaine Kearse. In fact, I wouldn’t necessarily pencil in Kearse for a roster spot right away. Though he’s certainly in the lead for the WR4 spot right now, a good camp performance out of Andy Jones or Travis Fulgham could put his spot in jeopardy. Hockenson, on the other hand, is going to be a big part of this offense. Probably not 700 yards big, but significant.

Marvin Jones Jr. vs. Danny Amendola is an interesting one. Last year, Jones saw his lowest production as a Lion when it came to yards per game (56.4). However, Amendola hasn’t crossed over 50 yards per game since 2013. I’ll stick with Jones, but it’ll be close.

Good question and I’m sure it’s an issue many are not aware of. You are correct. Darius Slay and Damon Harrison Sr. will both see their 2019 salaries guaranteed as long as they are on the roster for Week 1. Vested veterans are players who have at least four years of accrued seasons. Slay has six, Harrison has seven.

While this sounds like a great deal for veteran players, it also comes with an unintended consequence. Teams know of this stipulation, so you’ll often see them release a veteran player right before the start of Week 1, because it becomes too costly to keep them. That’s why there’s always seemingly a flurry of veteran signings in Week 2, because those salaries are no longer guaranteed for the entire year. This is the very reason why I wouldn’t pencil in vested veteran Jermaine Kearse ($1 million base salary) over potential cheaper options in Fulgham or Andy Jones.

As it relates to the Lions’ holdouts, there’s little doubt Slay and Snacks would make the Week 1 roster, but they’re likely looking for a little more long-term guarantees, even if it is just for one more year.

Nothing would surprise me at this point, as the Lions used tight ends in a plethora of ways during practices last month. I would certainly expect a lot of tight end usage in the red zone based on what I saw during OTAs and minicamp. How they will use each one will likely depend on how they perform as blockers during training camp.

As of right now, the role you describe may certainly exist in this offense, but I would suspect that role would go to either T.J. Hockenson or Jesse James. Hockenson was a red zone machine during OTAs.

Per Over The Cap, Cody Parkey still accounts for over $4 million in dead cap this year, and he’ll cost Chicago another $1.125 million in cap space next year. But if you account for every salary on their roster last year, which—in my opinion—should be considered dead because it was all wasted by the double doink of Parkey, that figure is closer to $152 million.

From commenter wwcjd

C.J Anderson

Do you think he can carry the load if/when Kerryon goes down?

The Lions are certainly hoping so. If *KNOCKS ON WOOD* Kerryon Johnson were to go down with injury (editor’s note: we confirmed Jeremy has no Kerryon jersey), there’s no doubt Anderson would take over as RB1. There have been questions in his past about staying in shape, but Anderson has already committed to being better about that this year.

Anderson obviously filled Todd Gurley’s shoes pretty well last year, but I have to imagine the Lions would spread the ball a little more if Kerryon went down. They obviously like Zach Zenner a lot, and they’ve showed no hesitation in running the ball with Theo Riddick in the past.

The running game would certainly take a hit with a Johnson injury, but the Lions are trying to build a running game that could withstand an injury to key players, and adding Anderson was a big part of that.

For all intents and purposes, Miles Killebrew is a linebacker. He hasn’t practiced with the safeties in over a year at this point. That being said, if Killebrew is going to make the roster this year, it’s going to be as a special teamer more than anything.

As for the Austin Bryant question, that’s a little tricky. The Lions’ base formation will likely just include three defensive linemen. Trey Flowers at the closed end. A’Shawn Robinson/Da’Shawn Hand at the 3-tech, and Damon Harrison Sr. at the nose. On the edge opposite Flowers will be their Jack linebacker. For the time being, that’s Devon Kennard. Bryant will be Kennard’s backup for the foreseeable future, especially since he’s still recovering from his torn pectoral.

Now that the Michael Roberts trade has fallen through, the Lions only have six draft picks next year. They almost certainly lost their seventh-round pick after trading for Eli Harold last year. It was a conditional trade, but since Harold spent the entire year on the roster, there’s a good chance the conditions were met.

The Lions could also have received the Panthers’ 2020 seventh-round pick after trading Corey Robinson last year, but he only lasted three weeks on the roster, thus not likely reaching the conditions of the trade.

As for my 2020 mock draft, here it goes...

oh no, I’m out of digital ink.