Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dolphins showing interest in former basketball standout Julius Thomas

The Miami Dolphins had a representative at the Portland State Pro Day to check out former basketball standout and tight end Julius Thomas, according to Pro Football Talk's 2011 draft visits and workouts tracker.

Thomas reportedly had an impressive pro day Monday, choosing to only participate in position drills while standing on his workout numbers from the NFL Scouting Combine. He measured in at 6-foot-4 3/8 and 248 pounds and ran a 4.64-second 40-yard dash in February.

Looking to follow in the footsteps of Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates in transitioning, from the hardwood to the gridiron, Thomas joined the Vikings' football squad in 2010 after four seasons lettering for the basketball team.

He left the court with school records in career games played (121), career wins (78), and field-goal percentage (.663), earning two All-Big Sky selections and helping the Vikings to two conference championships.

In his lone season on the football team, Thomas ranked third on the team in receptions (29), second in yards (453) and caught two touchdown passes on his way to a first-team All-Big Sky selection. He caught a touchdown and a two-point conversion in the East-West Shrine Game.

Thomas' quick adjustment to football after a hiatus since high school, combined with his impressive pre-draft workout numbers, have propelled his stock to the middle rounds of the draft.

CBSSports.com ranks Thomas as the ninth-best tight end in the draft and a projected fifth-round pick, while ESPN.com ranks him 10th at his position. Scott Wright's DraftCountdown.com has Thomas fifth, ahead of more established prospects like Virgil Green (Nevada), Lee Smith (Marshall), and Rob Housler (FAU).

The Dolphins, who previously dipped into the Portland State pipeline with undrafted offensive tackle Daren Heerspink in 2008, have a glaring need for a backup tight end behind Anthony Fasano. The raw but athletic Thomas fits the bill of someone the team could look at on the draft's second or third days.

Known prospects to have drawn pre-draft interest from Dolphins:

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