Julius Thomas: Avoiding ‘crash and burn’ season


Julius Thomas brings 24 touchdowns over the past two seasons with him to the Jacksonville Jaguars. With Blake Bortles throwing him the ball instead of Peyton Manning, will his skill as a receiver be enough for that level of production to continue?

It’s widely accepted that Thomas will probably have some level of drop off going from the high-scoring Denver Broncos to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The question is how much of a drop off will there be?

Erik Lambert over at NFL Mocks warns that it won’t just be a drop off, it will be a full on “crash and burn” scenario.

"Thomas experienced all of his career success with Peyton Manning as his quarterback, a future Hall of Famer.  Bortles is a promising talent but he’s already showing he might not be the same type of player.  Also there is [sic] the health problems.  Thomas played in just nine games his first two seasons and missed an addition [sic] five between 2013 and 2014.  The guy has a long track record of ailments.  Is that worth a $46 million risk?"

While I can understand Lambert’s reasoning that $46 million is a big risk for someone with health concerns, it is clear that the need to upgrade the weapons on offense is worth it. The Jaguars had plenty of cap room to make their moves in free agency, so spending money like that on a guy like Julius Thomas is worth it for now.

If Thomas does struggle to stay on the field, then the investment will certainly not have been worth it. We just don’t know at this point if Thomas will struggle to stay on the field. If he can keep his production up, then it will still be worth it even if he doesn’t see the field consistently.

With the expected drop off catching passes from Blake Bortles and the concerns of Thomas missing time, I think a successful season is in the ballpark of seven touchdown receptions. That’s a huge increase for any one player on the Jags roster and should be a success for Bortles, especially coming off a season that saw him throw just 11 total TDs.

Expect the Jags offense to roar to life in 2015 and Thomas will be a big part of it.

Next: 3 questions for Rashad Greene

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