Julius Thomas Emerging as a Starter

USA TODAY Sports

Julius Thomas' career thus far has been marred by injuries, but this season is looking like the one where he realizes his potential and becomes a starter at tight end.

One catch for five yards. That is Julius Thomas' career statistics at tight end as he enters his third season. Injuries have prevented the 6'5" 250lbs. tight end from achieving much else when the games count.

Julius Thomas was drafted as the final pick of the fourth round in 2011. He made his debut later that year during the preseason and turned a few heads-- despite the fact that he was on the sharp end of several of Tim Tebow's Sophomoric throws.

Someone, somewhere a long the lines on Denver's staff was smart enough to essentially red-shirt Thomas; who is now stepping into his only healthy season as a professional football player.

"It's been a long time since I've had a full camp," Thomas said Monday night walking from the practice field to the locker room.

"Being healthy and having my first [full] off season has been huge for my development as a football player."

Thomas has been a one man highlight reel since Organized Team Activities and so far through the fifth day of Training Camp has kept his fuel intake spiked with nitrous oxide. Signed through the 2014 season, he will likely make some vested veterans nervous about their playing time this season.

"My goal, my mindset coming into OTA's has been to improve each and every day and I'm taking that same mindset to training camp this year," he took a moment as if to take record. "I really gotta attribute [my accomplishments in camp] to my coaches for just staying on top of me and making sure that I know exactly what I have to do."

Thus far he is taking snaps away from Jacob Tamme with the starting team. Taking Tamme away and inserting Thomas creates a schematic nightmare if you consider the already overbearing task of covering the Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker triumvirate.

Add a worthwhile running back and defensive coordinators and coaches rooms will be pretty drowsy come Sunday.

"Every year I select a couple of tight ends, I try to look at what they do... It's usually guys who are successful in the league; I've watched [Antonio] Gates for a long time now, [Tony] Gonzalez, [Jason] Witten, just to name a few."

Quite the three to model his game on, but from what we are seeing right now he may have done better to name someone perhaps more familiar to Denver fans.

In Broadway terms this third year tight end puts on a show twice a day, except on Tuesdays. There are early talks of Tony Nominations, but he'll have none of that.

"Expecting things is just not where I am at right now, right now I am just focused on getting better. It's been a long time since I've been able to have a full camp. Expectations will take care of them self."

Former Atlanta Falcons and Houston Oilers head coach Jerry Glanville famously said, "Not For Long." And it won't be long until those less than existent statistics are obliterated and younger generations will look back and wonder why it took such a great tight end so many seasons to get started.

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