A year and a half ago i sat in amazement as rookie standout Demaryius Thomas from Georgia Tech caught everything that was thrown his way in training camp. The Broncos finished the camp with a scrimmage at Invesco Field in which Tim Tebow connected with Thomas for an impressive touchdown and all the planets seemed to be aligned. Shortly after that touchdown, Demaryius caught the injury bug and has not been able to shake it loose.
On Monday, the Broncos made a bold move and traded away All-Pro wide receiver Brandon Lloyd to the St. Louis Rams for a lousy 6th round draft pick which most likely will become a 5th round pick once Lloyd grabs 30 more passes this season. Some will argue that Lloyd was on his way out the door and the Broncos would have gotten nothing for him after the season but the Broncos also had a chance to pay some extra money on the crafty veteran and keep him for the next several years. I mean, who really needs the 1,448 yards and 11 TDs Lloyd delivered last season.
Part of the decision was made by Lloyds recent grumbling, the Broncos not wanting to pay more for an older receiver (i guess age discrimination is tolerated in the NFL), the emergence of 2nd year wide out Eric Decker, and the return of Demaryius Thomas who is recovering from a serious achilles tendon injury and a broken finger.
In a short interview after the draft in which Thomas was surprisingly picked two spots ahead of Dez Bryant, he stated he "was better than Bryant" but a season and a half later, Dez is a rising star for the Dallas Cowboys while Thomas has only 3 practices under his belt this season. Bryant doubled Thomas in receptions and yards in 2010 and tripled him in TDs . So far this year Dez has 249 yards receiving and 3TDs while Thomas has a bunch of jumping jacks on the sidelines.
Looking at the glass half full, Thomas could be a superstar if he can find away to be healthy. Before the injuries Thomas was clocked at an amazing 4.38 forty yard dash which is faster than most NFL receivers. During his junior season at George Tech, Thomas finished with 48 receptions, 1,154 yards, and 8 TDs. His 25 yards per reception got the attention of many scouts and he was considered one of the top receivers in the 2010 draft class.
With Eddie Royal coming off of hip surgery and a pulled hamstring the Broncos have gone "all in" on their bet that the these younger wide receivers will produce . Royal, who looked like a superstar his rookie year has been very underutilized and injured way too often. Thomas, who debuted with 8 receptions, 97 yards and a TD against Seattle on Sept 19, 2010 has done almost nothing since that game so this is a HUGE gamble for the Broncos.
If Thomas plays up to his ability it will be a great decision for Elway, Xanders, and Fox. If Thomas gets injured again and Eddie Royal doesn't deliver than the Broncos Brass will take a beating on this trade to Josh McDaniels and the boys of St. Louis. The Rams know what they got in Brandon Lloyd, the Broncos can only hope what they will get with Thomas and Royal.
Only time will tell on this trade but either way the Broncos have moved their chips to the center of the table. Game On!
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