April 13, 2024

Rookie Spotlight 2024: Brian Thomas Jr.

4 min read

LSU may be the one school this year with three top-15 prospects. Jayden Daniels is undoubtedly a top-5 pick and I would say Malik Nabers is in the top-10. That leads us to the other wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr.

In the first article with Thomas in it, all indications lied to me about his height. Instead of being 6'5", he is 6'3". Thomas is a very intriguing prospect this year because of the team he was on, the teammates he had, and the stats he put up. 

 

Brian Thomas Jr.

  • School Year: Junior
  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • School: LSU
  • Physical Stats: 6'3", 209 lbs 
  • Receiving Stats: 17 receiving touchdowns this year

 

Strengths

We all knew Thomas was fast. What we didn’t expect was for him to have 4.33 speed. With how tall Thomas is, that speed will definitely help him at the next level. He uses his length to his advantage and has amazing body control to help with the contested catch.

What sets Thomas apart from others in this class is his release at the line of scrimmage and at the top of routes. If he isn’t open with just his speed, he uses his release to open it up. 

 

Weaknesses

Brian Thomas Jr. will need to improve his footwork. He is great at releasing in every way, but his breaks are predictable and not as sharp as you'd like on film. Thomas did a much better job of this at the combine, but in-game and testing are two very different things. When a bigger corner gets his hands on him, Thomas tends to give up a little too often for my liking. 

You would like to see more than one year of production, but Thomas was so productive this past year, given who his quarterback and wide receiver were. He was complimented, and you can’t fault a player for taking what was given to him.

 

NFL Player Comparison

DJ Chark 

While some will scoff at this, hear me out. Chark’s physical profile is almost identical to Brian Thomas Jr. and they went to the same school. Thomas proved this year he is a down-the-field threat. He can also threaten on intermediate routes and is a developed outside wide receiver. With proper training, Thomas can be productive and have 1,000-yard years like Chark had with the Jaguars. 

Ever since Chark was injured, he hasn’t been the same guy. He was just made the deep threat in Detroit and Carolina. Chark also is not a true WR1 like both of these teams believed he could be. He is a great complement receiver for a WR1, which is where Thomas and Chark are different. 

Thomas still has a chance to be a WR1 in a good offense. A big reason is that, while Chark had to add muscle, Brian Thomas Jr. already has it. He can hone in on his weaknesses and not worry as much about the weight room since he already has done that in college.

 

Top 3 Fits

New York Giants

I'm not a believer in Isaiah Hodgins, but I like Jalin Hyatt and Wan’Dale Robinson. It is Brian Thomas Jr.'s turn to complement his other receivers like what Nabers did for him at LSU. Let Hyatt and Robinson be who they are. Let them beat the single coverage, and Thomas can be the true outside wide receiver the Giants have been looking for. 

Houston Texans

I can’t get this out of my head. Nico is on one side, Tank is in the slot, and Brian Thomas Jr. is on the other side. If the Texans landed one of the top-end running backs in free agency, both CJ Stroud and I would be salivating. This offense could be nasty, and their young team only gets better with this. 

Baltimore Ravens

Odell Beckham is a shell of himself, Zay Flowers is a great option at wide receiver, and Rashod Bateman has been pretty disappointing. If you can pair Flowers with Brian Thomas Jr and let Bateman be who he is, this just makes sense. The Ravens need more athleticism and more youth at the position. This would do both.

 

Fantasy Outlook

If Thomas secures the draft capital, he's likely a mid-first-round rookie pick. Even without it, he's a strong candidate. Thomas is set to be a solid fantasy flex play at least a productive WR3, possibly a WR2 or WR1.

Once Marvin Harrison Jr, Malik Nabers, the quarterbacks, Rome Odunze, and Brock Bowers are chosen, Thomas will likely be the best remaining. In fact, some might select him before Bowers. This is where you'll notice those managers who regretted picking Kyle Pitts. They won't repeat that error.

With any mid to late-first-round pick, I'll grab Brian Thomas Jr. shares. Lately, I've been saying that having five WRs in a league with three flex spots is smart. It's wiser to have more wide receiver choices than running backs. Thomas should be picked before any running backs, even if you need one.

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