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Top Broncos 2014: Demaryius Thomas is #4

The Mile High Report Staff each ranked their Top Broncos. We'll be counting down with a few each day. Here's #4, Demaryius Thomas.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

It was nearly a tie for third place on our collective rankings of Denver Broncos players, with Demaryius Thomas just barely finishing behind the guy ahead of him. My own personal rankings had those two flipped, with Thomas coming in at third.

Either way, there is no denying Thomas is one of the most talented players on the roster and easily the best wide receiver on the team. Experts from around the league are also beginning to take note of Thomas, quietly moving him into the 17th best offensive player in the NFL.

Why is He a Top Bronco?

There are several reasons why Demaryius Thomas is a top Bronco with his professionalism and maturity being of the biggest reasons, especially given how often the wide receiver position is filled with diva-like personalities. DT goes out there and does his job and does it better than nearly all other wide receivers in the NFL. So respected is he by his peers, that is has become one of the few players at his position to be nominated a team captain for the 2014 season.

In fact, Demaryius Thomas could join Jerry Rice as the only other wide receiver in NFL history to have over 1400 yards receiving and ten touchdowns in three consecutive seasons. That is surely elite company to keep if he is able to pull it off.

To rank this high on a roster considered by many around the league to be loaded speaks volumes to just how great Demaryius Thomas is. John Elway and the rest of that front office just needs to show him the money and know the team just added a major piece to the long term championship-building puzzle.

Demaryius Thomas Career Stats

2010 10 22 283 12.9 2 31
2011 11 32 551 17.2 4 47
2012 16 94 1434 15.3 10 71
2013 16 92 1430 15.5 14 78
Career 53 240 3698 15.4 30 78

To put that 2011 season into perspective, Tim Tebow was quarterback and Thomas only started five games that season and only played in 11. Of his four regular season touchdowns, three played direct roles in Tebowmania with touchdowns coming in the waning minutes against the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears - all three eventual Tebow miracles. Let's also not forget the 80 yards stiff-arm studliness that was the overtime touchdown reception against the Pittsburgh Steelers that year as well.

My point is, Demaryius Thomas is not a byproduct of Peyton Manning. Thomas is one of the greatest wide receivers in the game today and will continue to be so after Manning retires. We can also thank him for making sure the Broncos were not the first team to be shut out in a Super Bowl.

Projecting DT in 2014

So how do we project how well Thomas will do in 2014? That's easy. Is Peyton Manning quarterback? If the answer is yes, then its 100 catches, 1500 yards and 10 touchdowns or something close to that.  If the answer somehow becomes no then the drop off would be slight I think to somewhere in the neighborhood of 85 catches, 1300 yards and south of that 10 touchdown threshold. There is also a strong possibility that Thomas will catch the touchdown that removes Brett Favre from the all-time list, with Peyton Manning just a half season away from that milestone.

Demaryius Thomas is that good and I vehemently disagree with anyone who claims Peyton Manning made him. Manning benefits from DT's talent just as much as DT benefits from Manning's. With the addition of a legitimate deep threat in Emmanuel Sanders and the continued emergence of Julius Thomas, the opportunities for yet another monster year for Demaryius is absolutely likely. This is why he is one of maybe two or three wide receivers even worth consideration for a first round pick in your local fantasy football draft.