Atlanta Falcons FA Targets: TE Julius Thomas
Dec 14, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas (80) makes a catch while defended by San Diego Chargers free safety Eric Weddle (32) during the first quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Pros: The most powerful aspect to Julius Thomas’ game is his touchdown scoring ability. He was tied for first in touchdown receptions among TEs, along with Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Gates, with 12 last season. He had nine touchdown catches in the Broncos’ first five games of the season (a historic pace), demonstrating that he has the ability to catch a high volume of TDs in a short period of time. 24 total touchdowns over the past two seasons is also a very impressive statistic.
Thomas’ prowess comes in the redzone, where he’d serve as a valuable target for Matt Ryan. A redzone duo of the 6’5 Julius Thomas and the incredibly prolific Julio Jones would be an absolute matchup nightmare for any defense, and would give Kyle Shanahan a lot to work with. Speaking of Kyle Shanahan, he emphasized the need for a good pass catching tight end, in his press conference this week. Thomas is arguably the best pass catching tight end on the market.
Something that’s normally a problem with pass catching tight ends is their blocking ability; Julius Thomas doesn’t have this problem, however. According to Pro Football Focus, Thomas’ run blocking rating was a +0.1 and his pass blocking was a +1.1. While these numbers won’t jump out at you, they show that at the very least he wouldn’t be a liability in situations where he’d have to block. Julius Thomas is a player who has a few strong positives to his game. His touchdown scoring ability and above average blocking would be welcomed with open arms by Kyle Shanahan and the Falcons offense.