In the fourth preseason game last year, rookie safety Dymonte Thomas made the “biggest play of my sports career” cashing in on an interception and running back 58 yards to the end zone.
Name: Dymonte Thomas
Height: 6-foot-2 Weight: 199 pounds
Age: 24 Experience: 2
Then the rookie had his name called up from the practice squad to help the No Fly Zone face off against the Colts, Redskins and Chiefs in the final weeks of the season - and he got to see how the big boys play in the NFL.
“They were a lot bigger, faster and stronger than I had ever played,” Thomas recalled. “Mannnn, I felt like I was a fifth-grader playing the high school varsity team.”
Whether he gets to play with those big boys again remains to be seen.
Although the NFL stage was bigger than Thomas expected, it turned out not to be too big for the rookie, who helped the 2017 Broncos win their first game after a long stretch of losses.
“I was excited to play and I was determined not to take it for granted,” Thomas said of his opportunity after starting safety Justin Simmons was placed on IR. “A lot of teams put in their rookies at the end of a losing season just to see how they do, but they told me they were putting their trust in me because we were trying to win.”
With great speed and good hands, Thomas owns a skillset necessary for this NFZ unit - being a playmaker.
Dymonte Thomas to the house pic.twitter.com/cnXv8VPVfs— Michigan Nation24/7 (@247Wolverines) September 1, 2017
Head coach Vance Joseph had named Thomas among the young defensive backs showing some impressive skills during OTAs.
“Our young safeties have been really impressive. Dymonte Thomas and Jamal Carter have been impressive,” Joseph said. “It’s a tough league for defensive backs. There’s so much information and the physical part of the job is also hard. They’re working hard. It’s a good young group; they’re working hard and they’re getting better every day.”
The biggest downside for Thomas is that he is one of many good young safeties trying to make only one or two spots available for backups to the No Fly Zone.
With the offseason addition of Su’a Cravens, plus the emergence of undrafted free agent Trey Marshall, Thomas is unlikely to crack the 53-man roster and could be in danger of missing the practice squad too, depending on how many safeties the Broncos want to keep on the full roster.
When it comes to understanding the playbook and being smart on the field, Thomas says he consults Simmons, who became a starter last season after T.J. Ward was cut just before the regular season. But when it comes to aggressive play, Thomas likes to hit up third-year free safety Will Parks.
And he still uses tips from Ward on big-time tackling - something this defense is going to need a lot more of as opponents utilize their tight ends and running backs as primary receiving targets over the middle of the field.
“I can’t hit like T.J. yet; I need a little more size to do that,” the 6-foot-2, 199-pound safety joked. “But I do like to tackle.”
The Broncos’ first depth chart came out Tuesday, and Thomas was listed as the third free safety behind Simmons and Will Parks. At strong safety, Darian Stewart and Su’a Cravens filled out the top two spots and Jamal Carter Sr. and Marshall were the last two. Marshall has been impressive, logging one of the few interceptions of camp during the first week.
So who gets to stay? Preseason games will be a good test and will definitely be important for figuring out just where all these safeties fit on the roster - or if they do.
And Thomas will be hoping he sneaks in as one of them.
Does Dymonte Thomas make the squad?
This poll is closed
Probably not in Denver, but somewhere
Practice Squad for sure