Trevor Lawrence and Brian Thomas Jr. connection off to promising start

• Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence is already looking for Brian Thomas Jr. in practice.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Brian Thomas (7) pulls in a pass during Friday's rookie minicamp
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Brian Thomas (7) pulls in a pass during Friday's rookie minicamp / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY

The Jacksonville Jaguars expect rookie wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. to be an important part of their offense next season. So far, the 2024 first-round pick is off to a promising start.

Head coach Doug Pederson told the media that he's pleased with Thomas so far, noting that he's done what he's been asked.

"He's looked good. Really, a smart guy," Pederson said on the first day of rookie minicamp. "He's picked up the things that we've introduced to him, he's picked it up well. He's been able to retain it, recall it, and looks smooth on the field. We're gonna continue to work and there's some things we've got to work with that he didn't see in college defensively, they're going to see here in the NFL. We'll continue to work with him on that."

"Again, it's just the amount of time he and Trevor have throwing. I think Gabe [Davis] is kind of in the same boat. They all have to get on the same page," Pederson said.

It hasn't taken long for Trevor Lawrence to look for Thomas in practice. Here's an early glimpse of a connection we could see often in 2024.

Here's another video of Trevor Lawrence throwing to Brian Thomas Jr., courtesy of Jamal St. Cyr of News4Jax.

Wide receiver was among the Jaguars' biggest needs after Calvin Ridley left in free agency. While Gabe Davis signed in free agency, he was projected to be Zay Jones' replacement, not Ridley's. Jacksonville could've made an attempt to trade into the top 10 and drafted one of the top three receivers to fill the void. But instead of paying a fortune to move up, they traded back and selected Thomas Jr. at No. 23.

Even though Thomas wasn't in the same echelon as the big 3 in the draft, he was also projected to go in the first round. He'll need to refine some areas of his game but he's got the talent to become a WR1. In fact, Gregg Rosenthal of NFL Media thinks Thomas has a "higher ceiling than any receiver" the Jags have drafted since Allen Robinson back in 2014.

The Jaguars believe they have a WR1 in Brian Thomas Jr.

Back in the draft, the Jaguars could've drafted any cornerback they wanted when they were on the clock at No. 17. At the time, none had been picked, and they were reportedly interested in Terrion Arnold but they chose to trade down, get a few extra picks and take Brian Thomas at No. 17. This decision makes you think they were high on Thomas from the get-go.

By virtue of being a first-round selection, Thomas will be expected to make a big impact but he's landed in a situation that will allow him to come along relatively slowly. Even before the former LSU standout was drafted, the offense had a wide array of weapons. Whether it was Evan Engram, Christian Kirk, or even Travis Etienne, Trevor Lawrence had no shortage of options in the passing game.

With Engram and Kirk in the mix, Thomas won't have to be the Jaguars' sole playmaker. That said, he's not a helpless puppy. He's got the speed and the playmaking skills to make an impact right off the bat.

In the end, the Jacksonville Jaguars used a first-round pick on Thomas because they thought he can make plays for them. So far, it looks like he's right on track.

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