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Hopes Are High for Denver Broncos as Rookie Demaryius Thomas Hits the Field

Reid BrooksAnalyst IJune 8, 2010

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 28:  Demaryius Thomas #8 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets against the Georgia Bulldogs at Bobby Dodd Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It took a bit of time for him to recover from the fractured bone in his foot, but the Denver Broncos' first overall pick, Demaryius Thomas, has finally started practicing with the team.

For fans, hopes and expectations couldn't be higher.

There has been a lot of hype surrounding the young wide receiver in Denver, who appears set to inherit the throne of the recently-departed malcontent, Brandon Marshall.

As the first wide receiver selected in April's NFL draft, and a major player from a highly respected college program, fans have a right to expect a lot.

Josh McDaniels went as far as to describe him as the receiver "most similar to" Brandon Marshall back around draft time. Obviously, he has a long way to go before he earns that comparison, but all signs point to him getting there.

Most NFL teams spend their first round draft picks on players who can make an immediate impact, and with McDaniels trading up into the tail end of the first round to draft Tim Tebow as a quarterback project, it goes to figure that Denver had great confidence in Thomas' immediate ability.

While fans do not know when he will fill in as the No. 1 receiver on the Broncos roster, it is certain that his future will hold that opportunity.

Immediate comments from Denver Broncos second-string quarterback Brady Quinn provide a very positive impression of Thomas; Quinn complimented the receiver's route running ability as well as his size. However, Thomas himself seems aware that his recovery time has left him with substantial rust.

Joining him as a new addition to the Denver Broncos receiving corps is Eric Decker from the University of Minnesota. He made his first appearance in team activities today, though in a far more reserved role.

Broncos fans will have to be patient in seeing how prolific their newly acquired weapons are, as their first real glimpses will likely come during the preseason games. Even then, it remains unclear how heavily they will be used this season.

However, the Thomas and Decker duo should combine to make life far easier for any Denver Broncos quarterback, particularly when joining the explosive (and still young) Eddie Royal, who should find his way in the McDaniels' offense this year.

For now, Thomas will have a great opportunity to learn the ropes behind veterans Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Stokley, both of whom figure to maintain some prominence in the offense this season (Gaffney was the team's receptions leader among players still on the roster from the 2009 season).

Still, the learning process should be short, as fans are hoping for improvements in the Denver offense this year.

Thomas will undoubtedly face a lot of pressure to perform quickly, as he will be needed to fill in the team's No. 1 wide receiver slot in short order.

As training camp progresses, he will be one of the most interesting players to watch. The fate of the Denver Broncos' young offense this season will rest largely in his reportedly steady hands.

At 6'3'', 224 lbs., with a sub 4.4 40-yard dash, most people are assuming that the talented Thomas, who entered the draft early, will be up to the challenge.

Denver will find out soon.

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