Jaguars: Thomas gives Bortles a receiving weapon
The Jacksonville Jaguars had a lot of money to spend in free agency and they’ve snagged one of the bigger names available bringing former Broncos’ tight end Julius Thomas to North Florida. Thomas has scored a dozen touchdowns in each of the last two seasons with Peyton Manning and the Jaguars will hope that he can bring his big-play, free-scoring style to Jacksonville to help in the development of Blake Bortles.
Primarily a receiving tight end, Thomas will not be a direct replacement for long-time starter Marcedes Lewis but should bring a much needed upgrade in terms of production as a receiver — he hauled in more receiving touchdowns last season than Lewis has caught in the last four years combined. Thomas also offers Blake Bortles a safe pair of hands with only 10 drops from 142 catchable passes in the last two years.
The pressure for Thomas in Jacksonville will be to step up and be a bigger part of the passing game with an inferior quarterback. It goes without saying that going from Peyton Manning to Blake Bortles is a step down, but there will also be questions as to whether Thomas benefited from the other receivers around him in Denver as well as from the man throwing him the ball. Jacksonville will hope to make full use of Thomas’ versatility, getting production from him as a tight end, slot receiver and wide receiver to aid Blake Bortles’ development in 2015.