Former Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas will make his attempt at the NFL on offense.
After practicing at both wide receiver and cornerback in the New Orleans Saints’ rookie minicamp this past weekend and then being signed to the team’s 90-man offseason roster as an undrafted free agent, Thomas said Tuesday that he’ll begin his attempt at professional football at wide receiver. He may prove to be a most unlikely extension of Tech’s NFL wide receiver legacy.
“I guess it’s more of a comfort level to have the ball in my hands,” Thomas said. “I’m just working on it, trying to perfect the craft.”
Thomas said that, after spending the first day and a half of the minicamp at cornerback, team officials asked him to switch to receiver, where he stayed for the remainder of the three-day session. At the end of it, he got the good news.
“It was great,” he said. “Just a relief, just knowing that I’m going to be somewhere and at least be able to prove myself.”
It’s a big step forward from where he was before the rookie minicamp, when he came to New Orleans as one of 55 players invited to come on a tryout basis to compete for a roster spot. The team signed six of the 55. And it’s even a further distance from draft weekend, when he went undrafted and was not offered an undrafted free-agent contract afterward. He first went through an unsuccessful tryout with the 49ers before receiving a second shot with the Saints.
On draft weekend, he said, “I wasn’t upset, but I moved on. I knew I had this workout (with the 49ers) coming up, so I just started getting ready for this one.”
He has remained in New Orleans, as the rookies continue to learn schemes and plays. He’s on the bottom rung, and nothing is guaranteed, but he’s in the NFL.
“I wouldn’t say hard to believe, but it’s exciting,” he said.
On Tuesday evening, he joined Saints rookies at a crawfish boil dinner held by the Touchdown Club of New Orleans. He acknowledged there’s a lot to learn.
“First is getting in the playbook, learning the plays,” he said. “Not just running the routes, but trying to get comfortable as possible with them so I’m not out there thinking, but I’m just out there playing full speed.”
He has been assigned uniform No. 88.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s a little different.”