Jaguars WR Brian Thomas Jr. living up to draft billing in OTAs

• Jaguars OC Press Taylor has high praise for rookie WR Brian Thomas Jr.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. at EverBank Stadium’s Miller Electric Center in Jacksonville, Fla. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. at EverBank Stadium’s Miller Electric Center in Jacksonville, Fla. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union] / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA

The Jacksonville Jaguars expect rookie wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. to make a huge impact in 2024. So far, he's off to a great start and the Jags' offense will be in great shape if his performance in Organized Team Activities carries over to the regular season.

Offensive coordinator Press Taylor met with the media in the second week of Organized Team Activities. He says that Thomas has been everything Jacksonville bargained for and then some.

"Brian's done a great job. Brian is what we expect. He's long he's fast, he's smart," Taylor said. "Those things have shown up just early on getting him involved. We spend a lot of meeting time with Chad [Hall], being around Christian [Kirk, being around Gabe [Davis], who not necessarily knows our system but knows the NFL and what things are gonna look like. I think it's been really good for him."

"You see the intelligence and the quick twitch in the long speed show up throughout our practices right now as we go through things or even routes on air. He grows every single day. He's a guy that's very easy to communicate with just because he is intelligent. Things come naturally to him, football comes naturally to him, learning, picturing concepts understanding routes, how we're attacking certain coverages. So you see his growth every single day, which is fun to see," Taylor said.

The Jaguars entered the draft needed to replace Calvin Ridley. Instead of trading up for one of the big 3 (Rome Odunze, Malik Nabers, or Marvin Harrison Jr.), they moved back six spots and picked Thomas 23rd overall.

While Thomas wasn't in the same echelon as the top 3 receivers in the draft, he was still projected to go in the first round. You know the Jaguars were high on him because they could've taken any of the top cornerbacks in the class but instead went with the former LSU Tiger. Here's Trevor Lawrence looking for Thomas during OTAs, via Jamal St. Cyr of News4Jax.

Jaguars WR Brian Thomas is poised to have a strong rookie season

Press Taylor's comments echo what Doug Pederson said about Thomas when the Jaguars opened OTAs. So far, he's everything the Jags expected, with former NFL quarterback Shaun King going as far as saying that he'll win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

Mike Clay of ESPN was a bit more lukewarm on Thomas but still believes he'll finish third among rookie receivers with 813 yards and five touchdowns. All things considered, that wouldn't be a bad statline if that means either Christian Kirk or tight end Evan Engram end the season with more yards and touchdowns. And that's the thing.

Jacksonville expects Thomas to develop into a WR1 but they should also temper expectations in his rookie season. After all, they don't have to put pressure on his shoulders due to the presence of Kirk and Gabe Davis.

In the end, we won't really know what kind of impact Brian Thomas Jr. will have in 2024, but based on Press Taylor's comments, it looks like the Jaguars are pleased with how he's come along.

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