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Thomas breakout year deserved more notice.
It was always said that if Demaryius Thomas could stay healthy, he would become a star. That became more evident when the Denver Broncos signed Peyton Manning. After the memorable 80-yard catch in last year's Wild Card game against Pittsburgh, Thomas was being pegged as a possibly breakout player.
I'm not sure if people saw 87 catches for 1,312 yards with nine touchdowns coming, but the breakout season has happened. Thomas really shined this year and became the big-play threat that Denver drafted him to be. He instantly became Manning's favorite target, whether it was on the screen or using him as a deep threat.
Many people always clamored at the fact that Thomas was 6'3", but had breakaway speed as well. His 26 catches over 20 yards this year puts him at second in the league behind Calvin Johnson and shows how dynamic he can be. Also, his yards after the catch have him at third in the league.
Obviously, the addition of Manning helped, but Thomas has put it all together and has become one of the best wide receivers in the AFC. The list is once again star-studded similar to the NFC, but this is another case of being too good to be left off. Thomas has been too good this season to be ignored, which leads to a player that you may be shocked that the player I'm choosing for him to replace.
Who Should Be Replaced
I'm going to break it down first. AJ Green and Andre Johnson have put on stellar seasons that make them instantly in. Reggie Wayne has been rejuvenated with over 100 yards and 1,300 yards this season. That leaves one player, and that player is Wes Welker.
Unlike Victor Cruz, Welker has been consistent, but he hasn't put on the type of games that the other receivers I've mentioned have.
The system does hurt Welker, and the offense is clearly more spread out, but that doesn't hide the fact that he shouldn't be in the Pro Bowl. Other than catches, Thomas out produces him in everything, and everyone would agree that Thomas has made more impact plays. Welker hasn't fallen off; it was just that he didn't play up to the caliber of the best wide receivers this season.