Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

"A Day About Making A Dream Come True": Welcome to Jacksonville, Brian Thomas Jr.

042624 Thomas Press Conference Article

JACKSONVILLE – This was a day for the future, a good day.

It was a day about a dream come true, and the smiles of Brian Thomas Jr. and those beside him on the podium reflected as much.

"It's sinking in more and more," Thomas said, smiling – and that was the tone of the day.

Thomas, selected by the Jaguars No. 23 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft Thursday night, capped a whirlwind week with a whirlwind day Friday – flying from the draft in Detroit to Jacksonville in the morning, then meeting coaches and staff before an introductory press conference in the early afternoon.

Thomas spoke to the media along with Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke and Head Coach Doug Pederson at the Miller Electric Center, with all echoing a common theme:

Excitement for and from a player who Baalke said "checked all the boxes."

"We're looking for ideal fits and he's an ideal fit," Baalke said.

Baalke and Pederson both spoke of Thomas, an uber-productive wide receiver from Louisiana State University, as the right player at the right time for the organization – and for a Jaguars offense still building around fourth-year veteran quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

"It was certainly something that we targeted within the system," Baalke said. "We feel we need to expand offensively. [Thomas is] all of it, and a culture fit. We talk about bringing in the type of guys that fit into this locker room, fit into this community and he checked all of the boxes that way."

Among Friday's presser topics:

  • Uniform number. Thomas wore No. 11 at LSU, a number currently worn by Jaguars second-year wide receiver Parker Washington. "You know what number I want to wear," he said. "As of right now, I'll be No. 80."
  • Travel accommodations. Yes, he said, his flight to Jacksonville Friday on Owner Shad Khan's plane was his first time aboard a private plane. "Amazing," he called the experience.
  • First interaction with the Jaguars. This came during a formal interview at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in late February, with Thomas saying he was confident following a "Top 30" pre-draft visit to Jacksonville he would fit with the organization. "Just amazing feelings," he said.

Baalke and Pederson on Thursday talked of Thomas as a prototypical, productive player whose sub-4.4-second-40-yard dash time and 6-feet-2, 207-pound frame will make him difficult to cover deep and in high-point situations.


"The No. 1 thing you see is the speed on film," Pederson said. "You see the ability to get behind secondary and the second and third level defenders. That's big in our league."

Another topic Friday: Thomas' football intelligence, important in Pederson's offense, which often asks receivers to understand multiple routes and responsibilities.

"I would say my football IQ is one of the biggest things that helps me out when I'm out there playing," Thomas said.

Added Pederson: "There are going to be some different routes we're going to ask him to do and utilize his skillset that way. It's going to take some time, some new learning with a new system. We're going to do everything we can to get him caught up to speed as fast as we can and get him plugged in."

The Jaguars coveted Thomas enough that Baalke said he would have been the selection had the Jaguars used their original selection – No. 17 overall. Instead, they traded back with the Minnesota Vikings and acquired multiple selections in this year's and next year's draft.

That meant some nervous moments as No. 23 approached.

"There's always some angst when you trade back and you're looking at a board," Baalke said. "We just felt really good about the way the board looked and the teams that were in between No. 17 and No. 23 and their needs. You can't control someone else trading in between you but you just do the best you can to analyze the situation and you hope for the best once you make the trade."

The Jaguars as it turned out got what they wanted, and got the player they wanted – a player who the team believes is the ideal fit and one who on Friday repeatedly talked of being "super excited" to be with this team, this quarterback and this offense.

"Jacksonville was somewhere I felt like I could fit, so I was very excited," he said. "My expectations are to come in, earn the trust of the quarterback and the trust of my teammates and coaching staff to know that when the opportunity presents itself, I'm going to go out there and give my all, go out there and make the play. That's my next expectation coming in.

"I'm just trying to be myself. I don't feel like I have to live up to any expectations. I'm just going to come out there and work hard, do what I can do to the best of my ability."

Related Content