Broncos tight end Julius Thomas is well aware of how new he is to the game of football. And it comes as no surprise that an athlete who spent most of his time on the basketball court rather than the gridiron in college struggles to block defensive ends or linebackers in the NFL.
Certainly, Thomas was seen as a liability when he wasn't running a route last year. That's a main reason why he saw the field on 64.4 percent of the Broncos' plays, less than Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker . The Broncos aren't asking Thomas to pancake every guy he takes on this season, but the Broncos are looking for him to hone his blocking skills. According to Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com, that could lead to Thomas seeing an extra 75 snaps over the course of a season.
"The more Thomas can function in a variety of roles, the more places the Broncos can put him and the more Thomas can do from an inside position, especially in the play-action passing game when the linebackers are headed toward the line of scrimmage," Legwold wrote.
Thomas caught 65 passes for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns last year.
Just another reason to buy Orange Julius. He is going to get better and better. Unless we hear during training camp that Rob Gronkowski has made incredible progress in his knee rehab and is scheduled to start the season on time, I think Thomas is a no-brainer as the No. 2 fantasy tight end.