Have Lions been showcasing Ameer Abdullah in preseason?

Every week, we take some of your questions for a Detroit Lions mailbag. To ask a question for a future mailbag, use the hashtag #LionsMailbag on Twitter, email me at michael.rothstein@espn.com or drop a note on Facebook.

Now, on to your questions.

This is a good question and one I’ve been trying to figure out all training camp. Detroit is clearly giving Ameer Abdullah every chance to prove why he should be on Detroit’s roster – or someone else’s. Considering the team’s investment in Kerryon Johnson, that they still have Theo Riddick and that LeGarrette Blount has a different role, it would feel like this should have been a giant showcase for him. If the Lions can’t find a taker at a value they believe is fair, then personally I would keep Abdullah. While he wouldn’t give you as much on special teams as Zach Zenner, he does give you a good backup option if Riddick or Johnson were to go down with injury. The reality is the Lions probably keep only three running backs up on the 46-man roster anyway, so it’s just a matter of what you’re looking for in your No. 4 back when it comes to Abdullah.

Any of the scenarios would not surprise me with Abdullah – him being on the Lions roster, him being released, or him being traded to another team. His amount of work Thursday night could be an indicator there as well.

At the money he was due for the 2018 season, no, I don’t think the Lions made a mistake in getting rid of Eric Ebron. His fifth-year option salary of $8.25 million was going to be far more than he should have been paid (as shown by what he ended up signing for with Indianapolis) so from a financial standpoint it made sense. Of course, at the time, it seemed like the Lions might have needed that money to try and lure a big-name free agent to help the front seven. That never happened, so the Lions could have afforded Ebron, but they clearly didn’t feel he was worth the money.

Do I think Ebron is better than any of the tight ends the Lions have on their roster at this point? I do. And I wouldn’t have released him without knowing I was landing a Trey Burton or Jimmy Graham or someone of that caliber. But I don’t think they made a mistake based on the cost involved. Just a matter of choice.

Hakeem Valles has to make the roster first, which is not a guarantee. That said, after his play in the preseason, it would seem like he has done all he could to earn that roster spot. If Luke Willson is still banged up – and considering he was in the locker room Tuesday and also on the practice field, it would seem like it is not too serious there – then Valles would have a bigger role. To me, the question would be whether or not Valles is the No. 2 tight end. Willson would still seem like the No. 1 option. But Valles, if his play translates to the regular season (and he’s actually on the roster), might have pushed his way up the depth chart. From a fantasy perspective, if I’m in a very deep league I would take a flier there. Otherwise, I would look at guys like center Leo Koloamatangi, wide receiver Brandon Powell, linebacker Trevor Bates, cornerback Chris Jones and veteran cornerback Sterling Moore as guys who are hanging around that roster bubble. It would not shock me if one or two of those players made the team.

The real answer is a lot and not much. I know that sounds bizarre, but it depends on what you’re looking at. If you’re paying attention to records, then not much at all. Preseason records are misnomers because every team has different goals for various preseason games and backups play a good amount. Plus, there’s no real game-planning involved.

But from a how does the team look perspective, there can be things read. I went over a bunch of them earlier this week, including why I have big concerns for the defense, particularly the front seven. If things go consistently poorly with starters in, like it has for the Lions, that’s a reason for worry.