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The New Orleans Saints had one of the steals of the 2010 draft in tight end Jimmy Graham, a four-year basketball player for the Miami Hurricanes who stayed on campus to play one year of football. Thomas is looking to take the same route to the NFL after walking onto the football team last spring after playing four years of basketball at Portland State.
Also like Graham, Thomas had very little football experience even in high school, playing just one season before focusing on basketball.
However, at 6-feet-5 and 251 pounds, Thomas has the size and athleticism to warrant a mid-round flier in hopes of uncovering another Graham. The NFL is chock full of former hoops stars who have excelled at tight end, including perennial Pro Bowlers Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates.
Thomas impressed at the East-West Shrine Game and has the size and length to threaten the seam.
Thomas, a first team All-Big Sky Conference selection in 2010, had 29 receptions for 453 yards and two touchdowns in 2010. It was his first year of collegiate football after playing four seasons for the Portland State basketball team.
Familiar to Viking fans for a different reason - he starred on the Viking basketball team for four seasons... set school records for career games played (121), career wins (78), career field goals percentage (.663)... also participated on two Big Sky Champion teams and two NCAA Tournaments (2008 and 2009)... twice named to the Big Sky All-Tournament team... made game-winning dunk with 3.5 seconds left to play in beating Montana State for the 2009 Big Sky Tournament Championship... averaged 10.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and and shot a school-record .671 from the field as a senior.
Son of Greg and Toria Thomas... born June 27, 1988... brothers are Trenton and Marcus... earned his degree in Business Administration, will graduate this spring... hobbies are hanging out with friends, reading and basketball.
Draft Scout Player News
06/16/15 - TE Julius Thomas and quarterback Peyton Manning didn't become connected until their second year together in Denver. Thomas would like to move that timetable up a year when it comes to getting comfortable with Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.
In Manning's first year (2012) in Denver, Thomas' second season, the pair never combined for a single pass completion, despite Thomas starting four games.
But by their second year together, they became a potent combination. Thomas was on the receiving end of 65 Manning passes, good for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns. All three figures are higher than any Jaguars tight end has ever recorded in a single season.
That's why Thomas is continually asked about his relationship with Bortles. His latest answer on Tuesday indicates that things are becoming tighter between the two.
"It's been good. I'm definitely getting an opportunity to know him as a man on and off the field," Thomas said. "I'm very impressed with his work ethic. He's not cutting corners, he really wants to come out here and play at a high level and he's doing things that it's going to take to do that. I'm very impressed with that and he's still young going into his second year so he's going to keep improving and we're going to keep doing all we can as a team to help him out."
That of course prompted the next question to Thomas about how long it took for him and Manning to get on the same page with each other. Thomas somewhat dodged the question, or at best, talked around it.
He said, "That's an interesting question. I think last year we had a better relationship as far as understanding each other than we did the first year I was playing. It's always growing. Chemistry is just like anything else in life; the longer you know somebody the more you understand them. I guess that's the question of it just takes time. You're continuing to learn each other, continuing to get better."
03/11/15 - TE Julius Thomas signed a five-year, $46.25 million contract that includes $24 million guaranteed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Thomas was the No. 1 tight end on the market largely because of his production in the red zone with Peyton Manning and the prolific Denver Broncos' offense. He had 24 touchdowns and 108 receptions in the past two seasons as Denver's starting tight end.
03/08/15 - TE Julius Thomas, unrestricted FA update, became the Broncos' biggest name on the open market after the decision to slap the franchise tag on Demaryius Thomas -- and could fetch one of the biggest guarantees ever given to a tight end. That appears to be too high for the Broncos, who committed $12.823 million to Demaryius Thomas and have pressing needs elsewhere, including the offensive line. Julius Thomas has been a productive pass-catcher, but ankle problems have kept him from playing an entire 16-game season. In four seasons, he has missed as many games as he's played (32 apiece).
01/07/15 - TE Julius Thomas believes that the first-round bye helped him progress in recovering from the sprained ankle he suffered in St. Louis on Nov. 16. Thomas' production and snaps have been down since he returned to action at San Diego on Dec. 14, but he had a full practice Wednesday.
01/05/15 - TE Julius Thomas said that the first-round bye helped his ankle, which has bothered him since he injured it in St. Louis on Nov. 16. Thomas' production and snaps have been down since he returned to action at San Diego on Dec. 14.
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