One by one, bodies seem to be dropping like flies at training camps all over the NFL. Big names and big players seem to getting injured at an alarming rate, causing teams to scramble for serviceable replacements. The Denver Broncos are no different.
After suffering a slew of injuries to the offensive line — at center in particular — the Broncos suffered another wave of injuries over the past few days. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has gone down with an ankle injury, and both “starting” tight ends have suffered injuries. Although Jacob Tamme has returned to practice, Joel Dreessen will remain out for some time.
That noise you hear is opportunity knocking for Julius Thomas.
Thomas, a fourth-round draft choice in 2011, has been plagued by injuries during his first couple of seasons, but he has finally been able to showcase his immense skills this offseason. Quarterback Peyton Manning has talked numerous times about Thomas’ skill set, and even chimed in with this pretty encouraging thought: “If you can’t complete a pass to Julius, you shouldn’t be a quarterback.”
Thomas was sort of a flyer for the Broncos, who selected him based solely on his athletic ability, not his football prowess. He was a basketball star at Portland State University when he caught the eyes of the Broncos’ scouting department.
Denver has dabbled in the past with players deep in a basketball background. Wesley Duke was another college basketball star who converted to tight end and like Thomas, he had great athleticism, but suffered a severe knee injury that ended his career.
The opportunity that exists at the present moment for Thomas is big. Extremely big. Thomas and all his abilities will get a long look in the coming weeks, and if he can continue doing what he has done this offseason, the return of Dreessen really won’t matter.