The next Jacksonville Jaguars player we will profile in our series is a player who is expected to contribute heavily on offense, tight end Julius Thomas.
Julius Thomas spent all four years of his college career at Portland State University but Thomas isn’t your typical tight end prospect. Thomas didn’t attend Portland State with dreams to become a tight end in the NFL, his goal was to make it to the NBA. However, not all plans go accordingly and after 4 years of basketball, Julius Thomas decided to try out a different sport.
Julius Thomas only played one year of football at the college level but he quickly adapted to the tight end position. Thomas’ natural athletic ability was on full display as he was named to all the Big Sky Conference team, finishing his only season with 29 catches for 453 yards.
After his only football season at Portland State, Thomas fully committed himself to football. He spent extra hours in the film room to help better understand the game and he spent extra hours on the field to help improve his skills. Julius Thomas proved that he was an unique prospect, posting an impressive 4.6 forty yard dash at the NFL combine as well as recording the highest vertical jump among all tight ends. Thomas’s hard work payed off as it lead to him being drafted by the Denver Broncos with the last pick in the fourth round.
Julius Thomas had a very slow start to his NFL career, he only registered one reception in his first two seasons with the Denver Broncos. Thomas was reportedly close to giving up on his dream to play in the NFL but he saw a change in his fortune in his third season. Julius Thomas became one of the most dynamic tight ends in football, finishing the 2013 season with 65 receptions for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns. Thomas made an impact in the post season as well, as he registered 18 catches for 188 yards in three games.
After posting impressive numbers in 2013, Julius Thomas entered the final year of his contract with big expectations. The Pro Bowl tight end didn’t let the pressure get to him, he continued to display his ability as a prime target in the red zone by finishing the season with 12 touchdowns for the second year in a row. However, Thomas wasn’t fully healthy in 2014 and he was only able to haul in 43 catches for 489 yards.
Julius Thomas found himself in a unique situation in 2015, he was coming off the best two seasons of his career and he was an unrestricted free agent. It quickly became known that the Broncos were going to have a tough time re-signing Thomas and he spent little time deciding on which team he would go to. Thomas signed a five-year 46 million dollar deal with the Jags in March and he is now expected to be one of the leaders on offense.
Thomas clearly has the potential to be a reliable target for Blake Bortles but he suffered a minor setback when he fractured his left hand in the first preseason game against Pittsburgh. However the injury didn’t appear to be to serious and he is expected to return at the start of the regular season. The Jaguars made a significant investment in Thomas and it will soon be known if he can help boost the passing game in Jacksonville.
Be sure to look out for more player profiles from Black and Teal, our next player profile will feature defensive back Davon House.
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