It seems like only yesterday that the Denver Broncos spent a first round draft selection on a raw, but extraordinarily talented wide receiver product out of Georgia Tech in the 2010 NFL Draft. Fast forward to the present day and Demaryius Thomas is the last man standing from one of the franchise’s darkest periods (The Josh McDaniels Era) and is the team’s longest-tenured player. But hey, at least we can thank McDaniels for doing at least one thing right for the team by selecting Thomas.
Name: Demaryius Thomas
Position: Wide Receiver
Experience: 9th season
College: Georgia Tech
In his eight seasons with the team, Thomas has had four different head coaches and caught passes from well over a half dozen quarterbacks. And more often than not, the savvy veteran entering his ninth season in the league has produced when his name has been called. Ranking only behind Rod Smith in most franchise receiving categories, Thomas has been one of the best players the Broncos have had in the modern era. His production with Peyton Manning leading the team at quarterback was some of the best the league has seen in the past decade.
Demaryius Thomas on the podium now. “Making our unit better.. thats our goal for this year” on being a leader he says he wants to be on time and “set the example” for the young players and the [email protected] #BroncosCountry https://t.co/gDTPg8R9n6 pic.twitter.com/InNrFl15RB— Orange & Blue 760 (@OrangeBlue760) July 27, 2018
His efforts, dedication and diligence to the game helped the Broncos secure their third Lombardi Trophy in a Super Bowl 50 win against the Carolina Panthers. He has been a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, a model citizen and a leader on and off the field for our favorite franchise. When evaluating the standards that a first round pick should have in the league, it’s crystal clear that Thomas has checked most all the boxes and performed at the type of level you’d expect out of such a selection.
Coming off his worst season since his sophomore campaign, I’d throw all my chips in the middle of the table and bet that Thomas will reclaim his status as one of the game’s top receivers in 2018.
Even though the years have flown by in Thomas’ incredible career with the Broncos, he still possess top-notch athleticism at the age of 30. Once questioned for his limited route tree and route running skills, the team’s longest tenured player has worked hard on his crafted and has become one of the game’s best route runners. His size and massive wingspan allow him to win most contested (50/50) balls. Moreover, he is still a reliable threat (when targeted) in the red zone. Not only that, Thomas deserves respect for his run blocking, which has been a strength of his since he came into the league. With stability and leadership at the quarterback position with the signing of Case Keenum, it’s logical to expect Thomas to rebound in 2018 and have a Pro-Bowl caliber year in his ninth season.
Thomas failed to reach the 1,000 yard mark in 2017 — his first time missing that marker since 2011. He reeled in just five touchdowns and had only one catch go for more than forty yards. The lack of explosive plays were evident, but I would chalk that up to the revolving door the franchise had at quarterback last season as opposed to anything personal with him. The one major criticism about Thomas that needs mentioning are the issues he has had with drops in recent memory, as he has been near the top of the league in that regard over the past several seasons.
Demaryius Thomas' YAC per reception— Raymond Summerlin (@RMSummerlin) July 27, 2018
“Not at all. I don’t even know how old I am. I feel like I’m 20-something (laughing). I’m young. I still got the juice, baby. Can’t act like it didn’t happen, but as long as you got the juice, 30 is the new 20 and 50 is the new 30.” — Demaryius Thomas on turning 30 at the end of last season
There is no question that Thomas is the Broncos’ top receiver for the 2018 campaign, followed by Emmanuel Sanders and 2018 draft class selections Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton. After his worst statistical performance since his sophomore campaign in 2011, expect Thomas to rebound this year with more stability at the quarterback position and to break the 1,000 yard receiving mark for the sixth time in his career.