Trusted NFL voice defends Jaguars decision to draft Brian Thomas Jr.

• The Jaguars have gotten a bit of scrutiny for drafting Brian Thomas Jr. Buck Brooks recently explained why they made the right choice.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. (1), center, holds up his new jersey next to
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. (1), center, holds up his new jersey next to / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA

The Jacksonville Jaguars needed to replace Calvin Ridley when he left in free agency. To fill the void, they took Brian Thomas Jr. with the 23rd overall pick in the 2024 NFL Daft. While the selection generally got rave reviews, the 33rd Team wasn't thrilled and gave the Jaguars a "D." This made analyst Bucky Brooks wonder how they came up with that assessment.

Brooks caught wind of the grade on social media and asked what criteria The 33rd Team used, pointing out that it didn't make sense to give Thomas a D when you take into account that he the consensus WR4. He later acknowledged that it takes time to fully assess whether a pick was good but would like to know what but would like to see if the grade will need to be revisited in the future.

A Twitter user later chimed in and opined that it wasn't Thomas himself the reason for the grade, but rather the positional value at the time of the selection. Brooks dismissed that hypothesis, pointing out that you, "don't draft a significantly lesser player to fill a need." Here's the full exchange.

Thomas wasn't in the same echelon as the Big 3 receivers of the class (Marvin Harrison Jr., Rome Odunze, and Malik Nabers). However, he was still projected to go in the first round. Heck, Thomas was the 23rd-ranked prospect in The 33rd Team big board, which is why their grade was puzzling. Add the fact that the Jaguars got Thomas after trading down six spots, and his selection deserves a much better mark.

The Jaguars got the player they wanted and stockpiled draft picks

If the Jaguars had wanted to go after one of the Big 3, they would've had to trade up into the top 10. The Atlanta Falcons at No. 8 and the Chicago Bears one pick later seemed like potential trade partners before the draft. However, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers were ultimately drafted fourth and sixth overall, respectively. Rome Odunze made it to No. 9 but the Bears gladly took it.

Without a chance to draft any of the top 3 receivers, the Jags opted to stay put at No. 17. Then, their turn came, and they swapped places with the Minnesota Vikings and moved down six spots. In return, Jacksonville got a fifth-round pick, which became Keilan Robinson, a 2025 third-round pick and a 2025 fourth-round pick.

The team's brass said that they thought Thomas was going to be gone at No. 23. To their surprise, he was still on the board, so they wasted no time drafting him. Leaving aside the picks the Jags acquired, Thomas is a deep threat who'll be ready to contribute from Day 1.

When you look at the impact Brian Thomas Jr. is expected to have on offense, along with the extra ammo the Jacksonville Jaguars received, his selection looks great. As Brooks noted, it will be interesting to know what led The 33rd Team to give them a D for the pick.

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