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Justin Thomas Just Wants a Chance

By Jim Johnson
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"Right now, I’m preparing to be a quarterback and I will be throwing the ball a little," Thomas told the Southern Pigskin Radio Network.

For the past five years (he redshirted in 2012), Justin Thomas has been an option quarterback in Paul Johnson's offense, at Georgia Tech.

In what has seemingly become the natural progression for these types of college quarterbacks, Thomas, a late addition to the South's Senior Bowl roster, lined up in the defensive backfield in the prestigious all-star game.

To many, it seemed a safe assumption that Thomas' last snaps under center had been taken months ago; that he would follow in the footsteps of players like Nick Marshall and Denard Robinson, before him.

However, according to Thomas, himself, that may not be the case.

Overarchingly prefaced by, ultimately, just wanting a chance to play wherever he can help, the former Yellow Jacket does, at the very least, want a chance to prove that he can be an NFL quarterback, and is preparing as such.

"Right now, I’m preparing to be a quarterback and I will be throwing the ball a little," Thomas told the Southern Pigskin Radio Network.

"Since I picked up a football at 5 years old that’s all I played," he continued. "I mean just being able to command an offense, being versatile, being able to throw the ball down field, and being able to tuck it and run it -- there are different attributes I feel like I can bring to the game and to the team."

While exhibiting self-confidence and holding onto the hope that he gets a fair shot at playing quarterback, Thomas is staying realistic.

"During this process, I’m getting ready for everything, I’m getting prepared," he stated. "I will show different skill sets on my pro day, I won’t just be throwing the ball so I’m going into this process with an open mind and just trying to show as much versatility as I possibly can."

The odds are stacked against him. Listed at 5'11", his height alone will bring the skeptics out in full force. Granted, he's no shorter than Russell Wilson, but Wilson set the single-season FBS record for passing efficiency, in a pro-style offense, no less, and he still slipped to the third round.

Don't be surprised if Thomas runs a sub 4.4 40-yard dash at his pro day and gets snatched up on the third day of the NFL Draft as a skill player/return specialist.

The question is whether or not he'll get his chance to show off his abilities as a signal caller, though.

He should.

Thomas had his pick of the litter when it came to college choices, and he chose Georgia Tech, in part, because he knew he would play quarterback.

He has had success at every level, across multiple sports, even. Justin Thomas is a born winner and as versatile an athlete as they come.

In the quarterback starved NFL, there's no reason Thomas doesn't deserve a chance. He may or may not have what it takes to be an NFL quarterback, but there's only one way to find out, and he's earned the right to know.

Even if it doesn't work out, you've still got a guy that can fill a multitude of potential depth chart holes -- be it as a third down back, slot receiver, or nickelback.

If it does work out, though, you may have the steal of the draft.

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP